Jazz trumpeter and electronic musician Justin Walter is an artist who obviously takes care. It’s been six years since his last for Kranky, the ethereally wonderfilled ‘Unseen Forces’ and before that his debut on the label, ‘Lullabies & Nightmares’ announced itself in 2014. So incoming news of his new album ‘Destroyer’, due 13th October through the same venerable Chicago imprint, maintains faith in his considered approach.
The album maps Walter’s continuing exploration of the possibilities and palette provided through his main instrument the EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument) which he first encountered around 2010. The EVI is a rare breed, an electronic wind instrument invented by musician Nyle Steiner in the seventies, that parallels the trumpet but which needs linking to a synth or computer to produce the notes. Not widely available, there are only a few devotees like Justin Walter who can exploit the EVI’s extraordinary potential.
That doesn’t mean that his releases are simply some sort of quirky demonstrators (remember those ‘magical sounds of the moog’ samplers). Walter’s fluent fusion of jazz, ambient and electronic music, blended from boundless improvisations, positions him alongside Jason Sharp for innovation and opens up comparisons with Colin Stetson. Now ‘Destroyer’ looks set to re-confirm his significance.
Catch the title track preview if you need further persuasion. Destroyer’s moon-kissed lagoon of lapping gamelan paints an early meditative calm but soon shards of aching EVI cut through. Suggesting a place that’s sombre maybe pained, the notes arc and bend, squeezing pure harmonics from the sparks of distortion. It’s a song with form and a melodic heart, minimal, focused, a moment of unconventional beauty.
Pre-order your copy of ‘Destroyer’ by Justin Walter from your local record shop or direct from Kranky HERE