"Boccaccio Four" was the name of the Belgian club that became written into legend as the origin of Belgian New Beat in the late '80s. The New Beat vibe comes off like cosmic disco meets industrial grind, slow-mo and churning, psychedelic and aggressive. If that sounds like the equivalent of playing Wax Trax! records played slowed down, well, that's because was: the subgenre supposedly got its start when someone played A Split Second's "Flesh" at minus 8. Think synth-pop on a codeine nightmare-bender, or Danielle Baldelli soundtracking Terminator 5.
The tracks are less like singular tunes with fully-formed independent personalities and more like historical snapshots, or aural portholes onto the passing flux of time: witness the military snares and anthemic piston-pumps of "1986," and the crunchy, sniveling arpeggiated synth-worms of "1987." Things go way more sinister and subterranean in "1988," then "1989" becomes dominated by the relentless riffage that will become the later staple of Belgian techno. Like Baldelli's own Italian club Cosmic in the early '80s, Boccaccio Four became a lively laboratory for free-wheeling experimentation, and its trademark tunes still retain the vitality of works written before the rules had come to seem etched in stone. Who better than Optimo, arguably two of the finest purveyors of open-minded DJ weirdness working today, to show some gratitude?