If you know Brew's work from the highly lauded 'Limelight Nights' or 'Mediterranean Winds', then you'll know that his sound is a synth-heavy distillation of topical Balearic grooves and snappy disco percussion. This latest outing sees the musical polymath shift his focus slightly more into the almost-tailored-exactly-for-me saturated 8-bit grooves of 90's videogame soundtrackery.
Kicking things off, 'City Slicker' matches a swung percussive groove against phased chord stabs and rolling synthetic bass, providing a perfect starting point for the wonderfully vivid landscape that is to come. 'Hypercruiser' brings in the most understated saw-wave bass (with *just* enough short reverb on to come popping out of the mix) before launching into a soaring, euphoric lift into one of my favourite pices on the whole collection, the wonderfully evocative portamentoed swing of 'Underwater Galaxy'.
Both 'A World Someplace' and 'Winter Moon Rendezvous' hold their place perfectly, tactfully seguing between slowly pulled synth chords and twinkling dreamlike bliss. The former swims with a machine-funk groove, reminiscent of an 8-bit cityscape while the latter takes this established groove and slows it down, reducing to a few perfectly pitched elements. It's this restraint that really sets J-Walk apart from the rest, with his keen production ear coming across perfectly in the finished product.
Laters, both 'Chill Bien' and 'Equinox Desire' usher in hints of tropical groove, with the syncopated stabs of bass fading into a sea of reverb and bit-crushed guitars before pulling all the elements seamlessly into a perfect culmination of melodic drive and lysergic relaxation.
We finish with the massive duo of 'Fait Accompli' and 'The Night Machine', the former bringing the latent Italo elements into the mix before the latter slams them home with an uncompromisingly crunchy, filter-manipulated freak-out.
It's a stunning collection of tracks, and further evidence that J-Walk is indeed here to stay, thank f*ck.
STAFF COMMENTSMatt says: The second release on Jason Boardman's (Aficionado) new labour of love and it's no other than Martin Brew dropping electro-funk-balearo-science! Electrified throughout, it exists as a concise and really quite singular piece conceived by an artist in full creative control. We've waited all year for these BiD records but it's been worth the wait. Buy on sight! Who knows if there'll be a second press...
A1. City Slicker
A3. Underwater Galaxy
A4. A World Someplace
A5. Winter Moon Rendezvous
B1. Hologram Jam
B2. Chill Bien
B3. Equinox Desire
B4. Fait Accompli
B5. The Night Machine