Having one album from J.Walker’s nom de plume Machine Translations has always granted my some musical cred in my mind.
JW is one of those artists who gets name-checked with startling frequency in the ‘serious’ Aussie music press (usually preceded by the term “under-rated”), and I’ve alway been able to nod knowingly when I spy references thereto.
But, I didn’t ever really know what membership of this inner circle actually indicated. Listening to this early MT album (note the ‘early’, indeed it’s the pretty hard to find debut… I must be even cooler than most) for the first time in at least a decade, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
J.Walker is one of them multi-instrumentalist home-recording savant types, and what he’s cobbled together is an often vocal-free set of tracks which are surprisingly fresh and lively. He fiddles around with Hawaian guitars and Eastern sitars occasionally (the altter unfortunately evoking that awful cinematic subgenre where an Aussie couple wander around South Asia discovering themselves), but most of the work is a like a less grandiose Triffids/The Church (e.g. Aiming for Zero).
This is a much less difficult and pompous recording than I expected. Maybe those critics are onto something.
File under: A soundtrack screaming out for a storyline more interesting than me sitting in my office