Let’s face it: there is always something slightly condescending about Optimo. From their decade-long legendary underground too-early-in-the-week residency at Glasgow’s Sub Club to JD Twitch’s own re-edits of obscure disco and new wave tracks, the Scottish duo wants you to know that they know you know they’re in the known. While previous mixes were telescoping genres and moods – ‘Psyche Out’ blended Northern soul with old-school acid house while ‘Kill the DJ Vol. 2’ just assimilated everything and everyone it could get its hands upon –, their third and most recent DJ mix, ‘Walkabout’, is a more monochromatic affair… and all the more coherent for it.
Taking their cue from Throbbing Gristle’s throbbing take on industrial and post-punk electronics (incidentally, TB’s ‘Walkabout’ is the mix’s opening track), the Optimo guys are digging into the darker and colder corners of their 12” collections and mixing vintage digital noises from Suicide and Pan Sonic with recent minimalist cuts (Thomas Brinkmann’s ‘Momomexico’, Marc Houle’s ‘Bay of Figs’). They’re even giving in to current semi-hits by showcasing the Smith & Hack celebratory remix of Herbert’s ‘Moving Like a Train’… but don’t expect this album to soundtrack breezy terraces this summer: ‘Walkabout’ is precisely suited for the neurotic hours of the early morning, alone at home, watching paint dries and flies die.
You could dance to it, of course, but only if you don’t mind feeling like you’re heavily suffering from Tourette’s syndrome and looking like one of the pear-shaped disgraceful creatures that are gracing the album’s cover. Interrupting the mix right in the middle with some atmospheric post-rock by Boris (the actually quite beautiful ‘My Machine’) or closing with orchestrated flute (!) from DFA’s own sonic terrorists Black Dice probably doesn’t really help either in terms of busting a move or two. In the end, it’s probably just better if you shake a leg in your head since this is obviously a walkabout for your mind: Optimo will get inside of you, but this time, you won’t feel violated. Who knows, you might even enjoy it.
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Tracklist: Optimo - Walkabout1. Throbbing Gristle - Walkabout [Mute/Industrial]
2. Grungerman - Grungerman [Profan]
3. Pansonic - Hapatus [MUTE]
4. Databrain - Electrofrogs [Pin-Up Records]
5. Like A Tim - Aibe Stracie [Djax]
6. Lenny Dee & Nicolai Vorkapich - The Virus [Nugroove/Empire Music Werks]
7. Philus - Kuvio 3 [Sahko]
8. Shane Berry - Fillertet 2 [Trapez]
9. Boris - My Machine [Diwphalanx]
10. Godsy - The Grass Runs Red [Whatever We Want Records]
11. Suicide - Radiation [Ze Records]
12. Eventell and Metaboman - Control a Zoid [Musik Krause]
13. Thomas Brinkmann - Momomexico [Max Ernst]
14. 6k - Tighten [Pi Recordings]
15. Marc Houle - Bay of Figs [Minus]
16. Herbert - Moving Like A Train (Smith & Hack Remix) [Studio K7]
17. Black Dice - Manoman [DFA]