J-Walk reviewed by Nick Churchill

J-Walk: Off Beat

Tracks: 10, Website:

Label: Wonderfulsound

Having all but invented Gnarls Barkley at the turn of the century, long before Messrs Mouse and Green had got off the cheese board, Manchester’s soul shakedown groove machine J-Walk channelled vintage skeletal Stax and ballsy bossa nova funk on the dancefloor’s shining light of the year 2000, the stonewall classic Soul Vibration.

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While Martin Fisher and Martin Desai have no doubt found plenty to fill their time over the last decade or so, they just haven’t called any of it J-Walk, but here they are again with new material, a new label and a new mission to get us on the collective good foot.

Delving into the squiggles, scratches, beeps and squelches of vintage analogue tech they’ve applied a forensic attention to detail in order to resurrect only the dustiest music library breaks and beats as they unfurl a brand spanking new map of rootsy electronic art in the shape of Off Beat.

Yes, it’s chock-full of samples and beats made by plugging stuff into a power supply, but make no mistake, human hands are all over this record. Not only is their cover of Paddy Kingland’s BBC Radiophonic classic Vespucci an absolute blinder, you’ll wonder why people don’t stroke beards and smoke pipes when this stuff is on. Perhaps they do.

Do not adjust your set, these crackles put the snap and pop into some wonderful melodies that revile digital simulation, they want only solid state sounds – a kind of ‘trad’ electronics if you will, electro-folk. Anyone who ever doubted the geek shall inherit whatever they ruddy well like need go no further than the cut and dried grooves of Mexicali Hoodoo or Fuzzy Dunlop to know the boffins got the best tunes and to hell with the rest.

Yesterday’s Crowd soundtracks a crazy heist caper that involves a getaway in a souped up Lotus Cortina and Swinging Brick sounds like the opening music to an Open University programme about urbanisation from the 1970s, but We’re Not Alone is a chill out stroller, all socks off, sandals and finger clicks down by the water’s edge. Electric Dancing Song is more buzzy – like Moroder toying with Mike Oldfield while The Sonics’ Larry Parypa knocks out some riffery. The aptly titled World Inaction, on the other hand, makes you feel all fuzzy like the bright new morning after the night that never happened.

Strange, crazy, but decidedly true. BUY HERE!

Nick Churchill

Nick Churchill has written professionally for more than 25 years. Currently a busy Journalist undertaking a wealth of celebrity interviews and human interest features to writing speeches, generating web and media content and production scripts. His first book, Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth - got great reviews. He has also worked on projects for Duncan Bannatyne, Harry Hill, James Caan, Scott Mills and Peter Dickson, the voice of The X Factor. His obvious passion for words and natural genuine integrity is most refreshing.

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