This week we invite J-Walk to the Dusk Dubs family…
J-Walk is Manchester-based DJ and producer, Martin Fisher aka Martin Brew. Ex-boss at the renowned Fat City Records, Martin has crafted a special style of widescreen downbeat funk for a couple of decades. Coming to the public's attention via a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it 45 release called ‘Soul Vibration’ back in 2000, the tune soundtracked one of the hottest Manchester summers in years, with every label on earth trying to sign the damn thing. Eventually settling with London’s EastWest Records, J-Walk went on to release the cinematic and critically acclaimed ‘A Night On The Rocks’ album in 2002, before touring Europe and remixing artists including Nitin Sawhney, Bebel Gilberto, Baaba Maal and Manuel Göttsching. Martin also DJ'd around the world, holding residencies in Manchester, Moscow, Oslo, and London, and DJing alongside legends such as Studio 54’s Kenny Carpenter, Masters At Work’s Kenny Dope, A Certain Ratio, Breakestra, and many more....
J-Walk then moved to London’s hip Wondefulsound label, releasing Off-Beat in '14 and Limelight Lights in '17, with both albums capturing that sun-drenched imaginative fusion of rich melodies, analogue instruments and cosmic motifs which will resonate with every possible reference in your musical library.
J-Walk returned this summer with a new LP Mediterranean Winds.
“A deep set of Vangelis-inspired sounds plunging the listener into waters deep whilst leaving crumpled anoraks behind, before forging the sound into the soulful vibrations of the J-Walk world we love”.
“Firstly, thanks for inviting me to contribute a mixtape. Having to capture a lifetime of influences in a mix is not only exciting, but also difficult….it’s impossible to represent every genre and group in such a relatively short format! This mix captures many of the tracks, artists, genres and moods that have influenced me over the past 30 years, and i still never get tired of listening to any of them.” [[ J-Walk ]]
You can find J-Walk HERE:
1) M+M - Xoa Oho
I’ve been in love with this B-side gem since 1984, when I bought the 12” in my early teens after hearing it played by either John Peel or Kid Jensen. It’s essentially by Martha and the Muffins, and the A-side, Black Stations, White Stations is also still a great tune to this day and I often still play the instrumental out.
2) Marine Girls - Lazy Ways
Another track from my early teens which I first heard on Cherry Red Records’s seminal Pillows & Prayers compilation. The group featured a very young Tracey Thorn, and their Lazy Ways LP also featured Ben Watt. For my 13-year old brain, this was what I thought would be the sound of hazy summers for the rest of time. It still is to me.
3) Pale Saints - Kinky Love
Flash-forward a few years and I find myself working at Music & Video Exchange in Notting Hill circa early 1990s. Each day, the staff took it in turns to play a tape, and someone had put this on their own mixtape, and it just blew me away; it seemed to capture that Summer of Love vibe. Luckily, working in a second-hand record shop, I didn’t have to wait too long before a copy was sold to us over the counter so I snapped it up straight away and haven’t stopped playing it ever since. It still sounds wonderful.
4) China Crisis - Red Sails
I bought their debut LP, from which this track is taken, when released in ’82 and yet again, it’s another record that’s impossible to estimate how many times I've played it. A beautiful timeless masterpiece. People still come up and ask what this tune is when I play it out, and a lot of younger kids ask too, which is great.
5) Critical Rhythm - It Could Not Happen
Another favourite from the early 90s era, and on one of the best record labels ever….Nu Groove. At that time, almost everything on the label was a sure-shot buy-on-sight release; the quality was so high. This track was a departure from the classic NY house sound, but to this day remains a favourite that I still play out.
6) Edie Brickell & New Bohemians - What I Am
1998 and pre-Madchester….and this is what me and my mates fell in love with….completely different from anything else at the time but very reminiscent of a hippy west-coast vibe that was supposed to have died out in the 60s. The wah-wah guitar solo is sublime. This is the bootleg mix, with ‘that’ beat over the top of the original track, turning it into an indie-disco shuffler. Apparently, it’s from this release that the beat was sampled for Primal Scream’s Loaded….I’m not sure, because it was also used for Soul II Soul’s Keep On Moving…who knows?
7) The Countach - Aqua Marina
Still in the early-90’s here, and that’s when I became aware of a slower, more funky and blissed out sound coming from Italy. This track still cuts it to this day and is a great tribute to the Santana track of the same name, which I also love to play out. I think this version just tips it for me though, having featured on numerous mixes played on Walkmans and minidiscs and smartphones over the last 30 years or so.
8) Jim Morrison & The Doors - Ghost Song
The sound of sunset over Sunset, this track just exudes west-coast sunshine. Taken from the posthumous album of poetry by Jim Morrison on which the Doors provided the music, this takes me back to the late 80s when we fully immersed ourselves into expansive music experiences listening to Hawkwind, Pink Floyd, Gong, etc. You get my drift.
9) Spacemen 3 - Hypnotised
Those early expansive experiments left me with a lifelong love of vibrato and tremolo, and this track, like most of Spacemen 3’s tracks, shimmers along in a dream-like state of lush warmth and reverberation. Still one of my favourite bands ever and hard to believe that this is now 30 years old.
10) Air - Les Professionnels
Representing my love of Gallic pop, Air came along with their crystal-clear take on the cool French sound that started with Serge Gainsbourg in the late 60’s. Effortlessly timeless.
11) Earth Wind & Fire - Drum Song
This found a way into my collection as a late teenager when I was given a box of soul and jazz fusion records from a distant relative, in which there was also Agharta by Miles Davis and Don’t Knock My Love by Wilson Pickett. What a masterpiece this is, with the melodies played on a variety of effected percussion instruments, all held-down by a rock-solid bassline.
12) Keith Hudson - Civilisation (Instrumental)
It’s a funky reggae party! Representing my love of reggae, this comes from the reggae-disco side of the genre and is filled with synths and a ridiculously fat and funky bassline. This one just bubbles along nicely.
13) APB - One Day
Back to the John Peel days with this track, and one of this band’s first four classic singles released on Aberdeen’s Oily records in the early 80s. Very much in that punk-funk disco-not-disco vibe that A Certain Ratio et al made their own. APB were also massive on the NY Danceteria/Mudd Club/Berlin scene with this track. What a dancer.
14) Simple Minds - Theme For Great Cities
The masters of emotional pop, as the synths on this will testify. This Steve Hillage-produced instrumental became massive in alternative discos everywhere during the 80s and 90s….very ahead of it’s time, and adopted by Europeans in great cities everywhere.
15) EMAK - Tanz In Den Himmel
The cold electronic sound of the future, and included here to represent my love of German synth music. The instrumentation and the melodies are the sound of deserted European cities just before dawn…very melancholic and another perfect example of emotional electronic music.
16) OMD - Statues
The British take on the sound of the future, and this one is taken from their second LP, reportedly written following the death of brief label-mate Ian Curtis. Very moody and beautiful, driven by a haunting and hypnotising drum machine click running through the track.
17) Kool & The Gang - Summer Madness
Everything on this track is so warm and lush…..the vibrato electric piano, the deep gravel-like bass sound, the jazz guitar and of course, that soaring synth. Impossibly cool and languid, if ever a track sounds like its title then this surely must be it.
18) Maze - Twilight
Very much a continuation of the selection above, this track was always at home in the many music tribes of late 80s/early 90s Manchester…and still is. You could hear this played in house clubs, on the street soul scene and in after-club parties everywhere across the city deep into the night and the next morning. A polyrhythmic electronic sunset masterpiece that will never date.
19) Kleeer - Tonight
This takes me back to my Fat City Records days, and here represents my love of synths and in particular, vocoders. Who just doesn’t love that sexy singing robot sound?! Heavy minimal synth funk of the highest order.
20) Lonnie Liston Smith - Sunset
Was lucky to see Lonnie and his wonderfully vibrating electronic piano sound around 1990 at the NIA Centre in Manchester, and it was difficult to pick a favourite track. However, this deep shimmering beauty from the Cosmic Echoes master himself seems appropriate to close out this mix. Transcendent, warm and lush, this is simply class.