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.