New Year's Eve clubbing in Glasgow, as in any big city, can be a trying affair: jacked-up ticket and bar prices, oversold venues and streets heaving with over-stimulated once-a-year party people can make it all seem a great deal more trouble than it's worth. This in mind, Optimo's decision to leave the city centre behind and hold their Hogmanay party at the spacious and pleasingly isolated Glue Factory for the second year running felt precision-aimed at those who might otherwise have bah-humbugged their way to the sofa for whatever soul-curdling fare BBC Scotland had on offer. Only ten minutes' walk from the heavily policed chips'n'cheese hellscape of Sauchiehall Street, the Glue Factory feels worlds apart, tucked away as it is on an industrial estate at the northeastern tip of the city's west end. And although the semi-legal vibe of its early days has understandably dissipated a bit, this many-roomed warehouse space certainly isn't going to be renamed the Carling Glue Factory anytime soon.
Following the traditional event-in-itself that is Optimo's yearly musical surprise at the bells (this year it was a Twitch-created bass synth version of "Auld Lang Syne"), Brian "Auntie Flo" D'Souza and collaborator Esa Williams took to the booth, the former on electronics (and cloaked in African robes), the latter on live percussion, drum machines, synths, vocals and mixing duties. Kicking off with the handclaps, tropical percussion and fluttering synth peaks of "Goa," the pair led us through some highlights from debut LP Future Rhythm Machine, with the album's sun-bleached rhythms warming the cockles at least as much as the venue's much-vaunted state-of-the-art heaters.
Two mid-set Fela Kuti edits (of "Water Get No Enemy" and "Roforofo Fight") created especially for the night were an unexpected treat among other album cuts and early-career attention-grabber "Highlife." The gorgeous, meditative "Sun Ritual," from Kompakt's "Speicher 72", led into the voodoo-inflected "I Want to Blow Your Mind," and the mesmerising set ended, inevitably and rightly, with a triumphant "Oh My Days"—very much the year-zero moment that really kicked Auntie Flo's extraordinary 2012 into high gear.
That left Twitch and Wilkes to do what they do best for the final two hours or so, while surveying the majesty of what could be the finest New Year's party they've ever thrown. A hypnotic, joyous live treatment of some of the year's most intriguing electronic music, excellent sound, no big queues at the bars and beautifully quiet streets to step out onto at the end: this was as close to flawless as Hogmanay clubbing gets.