Tuesday, August 25, 2009

J Walker @ The Queensland Art Gallery August 14th

The other week, we went to see J Walker of Machine Translations playing as part of The Met Up Late. On show at the Queensland Art Gallery was the American Impressionism & Realism exhibit. I don't know a lot about physical art mediums, so I can't really comment on much of the exhibit itself.

However, I do know a bit about Machine Translations, and I was very happy to hear a number of tunes from J's back catalogue tonight.

Having just said that, I have to admit to not recognising the first song of the set, which was performed by building up upon layers of acoustic guitar loops. I'm not sure if it was from the latest album (which I haven't listened to enough yet) or if it was something else.

From there, he moved on to a slightly different take on Misunderstood, which was played to a more swung beat. I'd had this song in my head a couple of days earlier and it took a while for me to realise what it was when he started playing it. She Wears A Mask followed, which for the first time that I can recall, I actually heard a lot of the words. Not that they had been a mystery that I'd wanted to solve for a long time, but it was interesting to hear a bit of what the otherwise catchy song is about.

Two more of my favourite Machine Translations songs were up next; Not My Fall (including the whistling solo, which he wasn't too happy with but I thought sounded alright) and Amnesia. Unfortunately we're still waiting for him to bring back Simple Life into his set, which we always get our hopes up for each time we see him.

The rest of the set included a Leonard Cohen cover (with more whistling), and a couple of other songs that featured crescendo building noise collages with the help of the loop pedal. Finally, he opened up the tuning on his guitar for what I think was You'll Change (though my memory is starting to fail me now, so don't quote me on that).

The gig happened right in the middle of a very busy week for us, but it ended up being an unusually relaxing and enjoyable night. It was also an early night for us, which was an added bonus!

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