Coinciding with the climax of their dedicated run at Glasgow's Sub Club, Fabric commissioned the two Scottish DJs best known as Optimo to record a mix for their famous ongoing series. Judging from the tracklisting itself, it actually seems Fabric 52 would be more in sync with the FabricLive spirit, considering how all over the place it looks at first glance. But Optimo have taken the diverse, anything-goes attitude to track selection and applied modern day techniques to the results, turning Fabric 52 into their most seamless and forwardly dance mix so far.
JD Twitch and Jonnie Wilkes have always had a distinctive approach to mix CDs. 2007's Psyche Out merged, for instance, vintage acid house and psychedelic rock, while Walkabout verged into noise and drone territories and the more recent Sleepwalker compilation gave us access to the slower, moodier and darker corners of their vision of the discotheque. This is no different: Fad Gadget's "Lady Shave" imposes an early '80s, dark synth-pop vibe, only to rapidly give way to Prins Thomas' Balearic yet relentless take on Discodromo's "Cosmorama." We are then rapidly treated to a 1993 proto-minimal techno cut from Basic Channel which is followed by a more contemporary house offering from Rekids' wonder boy Spencer Parker… and that's just in the first ten minutes.
The back-and-forth movement from one era to another and from one style to the other is quintessentially Optimo, but here it sounds totally natural and adroitly polished. The track-14-to-19 sequence is nothing short of impressive. Contemporary Italo from The Tyrell Corporation (the pounding "Together Alone") rubs shoulders with vintage Bobby Orlando-produced hi-NRG (Roni Griffith's spooky "Spys"). It then goes into Levon Vincent's acidic "Love Technique" before Oni Ayhun's circumvallating "OAR003-B" imposes the rhythmic backbone to a mash-up with Italians Do It Better's recent recruit Desire and their breathless disco torch song "Don't Call." Taken individually, Ayhun's cut is demandingly unorthodox, while Desire's comes across as slightly anemic. Their telescoping creates the kind of experience that radically modifies the two tracks to the point where it's almost impossible to go back to the originals without feeling there is now something missing on both of them.
Not many DJs can claim to have that truly altering effect on the material they select and combine, but that's one of the things that makes Optimo so special. That Fabric 52 was allegedly recorded in two separate parts by the DJs without knowledge of what the other was doing only makes it more remarkable. Fabric 52 is a towering achievement. In their hands, DJing is not a mere technique: It is an art form.
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Tracklist: Optimo - Fabric 52 01. Fad Gadget - Lady Shave
02. Discodromo - Cosmorama (Prins Thomas Discomiks)
03. Basic Channel - Q1.1
04. Spencer Parker - YOGOTO
05. Locussolus - Gunship
06. Rebolledo - Amigos CÃ³meme
07. The Minister - Jack Your Bodey House Your Mind
08. Altz - Get It Down!
09. Thomas Brinkmann - Walk With Me
10. Rheingold - Dreiklangsdimensionen
11. Capablanca & T Keeler - La Konk Fiesta
12. Roska - Feeline
13. Cumbia Moderna De Soledad - Shacalao
14. The Tyrell Corporation - Together Alone
15. Roni Griffith - Spys
16. Levon Vincent - Love Technique
17. Oni Ayhun - OAR003-B
18. Desire - Don't Call
19. Crazy Cousinz - Inflation
20. Matias Aguayo - Walter Neff
21. Nakion - Heartbit
22. Xex - Heartbeat