Machine Translations is singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Greg Walker, and I’ve used up my ration of the word “underrated” on him. Two decades of only occasional albums still add up to a pretty extraordinary back catalogue of nine LPs. Good luck tracking them down, though.
Walker wanted Oh to be “lean and mean”, but his stripped-back is far more layered-up than the next guy. Doom Boogie is a song but it aptly describes this record’s flavour, with its aggressive density and percussive piano thuds. He seems to be in a constant quest to unlearn; to make the wrong things right. His experimentation is within strict parameters though – you might not even hear it on a first listen.
An odd tuning, perhaps, or a piano that’s plunky and broken; lyrics that don’t deliver the turn of phrase you expect and rarely rhyme. A tart taste prickles the sweeter sounds; something vinegary sours the warm acoustic strum. Instrumental track Spider At The Wheel is the best showcase of this – hammered onto a piano’s exposed strings, perhaps? Your guess is as good as mine.