Review: Bergsonist aka Selwa Abd follows 2017's From Dualism To Monism long player with this collection of left of centre tracks. Drawing on her Eastern roots, Middle resounds to organic drum sounds. At times chaotic and dense, audible on the title track's clattering arrangement, in other instances club-friendly and direct - just check "Gaza Border Violence" or the electronic groove of "Otology" - it marks her out as an artist with a unique approach. In case you are in any doubt about Bergsonist's capabilities, on "Magnesium" she deconstructs beat down house and adds extra, textured layers that are nothing short of hypnotic.
Review: Boot & Tax have been members of the Optimo Music family since 2013, releasing a pair of well-regarded 12" singles on the offshoot Optimo Trax imprint. While those were formidably dancefloor focused, this eponymous debut set offers them a chance to flex their artistic muscles in a range of styles. For the most part, it's a surprisingly humid set, with the Italian duo variously doffing their cap to indie-dance, post-punk, dub and new beat, with occasional bluegrass and psychedelic flourishes. It's a formula that guarantees mixed results, at least aesthetically. For all the genre shifts, the quality threshold rarely drops from "excellent" throughout.
Review: Given that JD Twitch has long been a fan of this near-legendary chunk of sparse electronica from Throbbing Gristle man Chris Carter, it's no surprise to see the track getting a deserved re-release on his label. The brilliant 1984 original - all industrial electro pulse and icy Balearic melodies - still sounds remarkably fresh, and is here joined by two wildly different remixes. New York combo Neurotic Drum Band stick closely to Carter's 1984 formula, emphasising the moodier elements of the original on a decidedly cosmic dancefloor version. Oneohtrix Point Never goes in the opposite direction, turning in a discordant ambient version full of intense white noise and droning vintage synths.
Review: Here JD Twitch, head honcho Glasgow institution Optimo, proudly presents a rarity from the unique artist Dennis Bovell. Described as being a 'musical polymath, top flight producer, dub legend and one of the finest artists the UK has ever produced', Bovell released an album in 1981 called Brain Damage which was an absolutely bonkers fusion of Afrobeat, funk, dub, jazz, blues and more. Everybody bought Duran Duran's record instead of course, but justice prevails here as both "Heaven" and "Smouche" are rescued and re-released from the LP. Also featured is the awesome Garland Jeffreys experiment "Escape Goat Dub". Absolutely essential.
Review: Disconnection's 1982 debut single, Bali Ha'i, has always been one of post-punk disco's most bizarre and brilliant moments. For starters, it's a cover of a Rodgers & Hammerstein number originally featured in South Pacific, re-cast as an acid-fried blur of rubbery punk-funk bass, liquid synthesizers, razor-sharp violin lines and tongue-in-cheek female versions. This tidy Optimo Music includes all of the tracks from the original, sought-after 12", including the contrasting 'US' and 'UK' disco mixes (for the record, it's the slightly more electronic and dub-wise UK version that you should head for). Bonus cut "Aaaah", a thoroughly bonkers and out-there fusion of freestyle female vocals, odd orchestration and strange noises, is worth a listen for its' sheer insanity.
Review: The ultra-magnetic, ultra-talented trio, Factory Floor, team up with Peter Gordon for their second release on the sublime Optimo Music. Gordon is one of those guys who can play just about anything and "Beachcombing" is one of those sultry synth rides that'll leave your brain melted on the side of the subwoofer - aided herein by the additional contributions of Gabriel Gurnsey and Nik Kolk Void - now that's a package! The ride is majestic as it is dark and mysterious, with waves of polyphony wrapped all over its ominous and crumbling arrangement - a marvel! "C Side" features Dominic Butler and takes a slightly lighter approach to things, combining a crooked half-step slant to more cheery pastures - a field of sax melodies and cascading synth bleeps! CHECK!
Review: More post punk inspired electronics courtesy of the Optimo Music camp by Fantastic Twins: the project of Julienne Dessagne - who some of you may know as one half of genre-bending outfit Saschienne with husband: the Berlin stalwart Sascha Funke. Following up her impressive debut (The New You EP) on Superpitcher & Rebolledo's Hippie Dance imprint, Dessagne unleashes a full length effort here which spans classical, avant garde and baroque influences while merging with the Cologne style of indie dance sensibilities. She'll help you delve deep into the exotic such as on tracks like "Construire Un Igloo" or "Bataille", then to get weird on the hypnotic "Ivres De Fatigue", while the evocative and bittersweet closer "Tableu Final" is just lovely. All in all a cohesive effort that transcends musical boundaries to interesting effect.
Review: Newcomer Feon up next on Optimo Music, with some some gorgeous and sunkissed balearica. The London based producer wrote these tracks in a brisk 10 day session, shortly after the experience of Ayahuasca ceremony - which is evidenced in the psychedelic sound of the first track. He has explained that the production involved his vocals being layered 30 times in different harmonies, then put through a space echo and you can sure hear it! This one was awesome. Then we have the trance inducing muscle disco of "Holland Fly By" with its super cosmic influences enough to propel your mind into the stratosphere. Finally there's something much more experimental on the solemn, breaks-driven tripper "Without Sound".
Review: JD Twitch's Optimo Music bring us an EP/mini-album from the Glasgow duo of Suzanne Rodden and Lewis Cook, formerly known as Happy Meals but currently sailing under the Free Love flag. Experimental electronic disco is the mood overall here: opener 'Inner Revolution' has elements of bleep, Italo and electro, 'Everyone' rocks the Balearic vibes, 'Out Of Body' reaches further into full-on ambience, 'Bones' is an Italo-acid fusion thang and 'Skin On Skin' recalls the punk-funk of late 70s New York, while 'Everywhere' brings the EP to a suitably wonked-out conclusion. More a home listening experience than a collection of floor-fillers, but worthy of investigation all the same.
Review: Golden Teacher's first 12" for Optimo Music, Bells From The Deep End, remains one of the most startling releases of 2013; a brilliantly executed fusion of analogue electronics, post-punk sassiness and industrial attitude. This follow-up, full of heavy live percussion, voodoo chants, tropical pagan attitude and dense atmospherics, is similarly impressive. "In Stoney Sleep" is something akin to a hallucinogenic trip through a dark, tropical jungle, while stand out "Like a Hawk" somehow blends dubwise electronics, Afro-influenced vocals, acid tweakery and landestine atmospherics. The skittish, high-tempo "Sweat Bath With Saturn" and deeper, spaced-out "Dringhouses" are also superb.
Review: Ever since JD Twitch rebooted Optimo Music, it's been the irregular transmissions from Glasgow act Golden Teacher that has hit the spot each and every time. The amalgamation of two diverse bands from the city -noise punk outfit Ultimate Thrush and analogue house duo Silk Cut, Golden Teacher first emerged on Optimo Music early last year with a pretty apt description of sounding like "Arthur Russell's Dinosaur L jamming with Bobby O, K Alexi Shelby, Liaisons Dangereuses and Imagination, with some voodoo drummers and Sly & Robbie". Steadily building up a reputation for some riotous live performances, Golden Teacher are a class above because they manage to distill this energy into their recorded output too. Party People features three such examples, with A-side cut "Love" the kind of production that sufferers of LCD Soundsystem withdrawal will embrace and cherish for years to come.
Review: Not all remixes make sense, but there's something fitting about British dub-reggae and post-punk producer Dennis Bovell reworking tracks by Glaswegian misfits Golden Teacher. Put together by Bovell at Glasgow's infamous Green Door Studio on a day off from touring, these dub revisions take the hard-to-pigeonhole six-piece's adventurous productions and add an extra layer of spaced-out goodness. While Bovell has provided some overdubs - mostly dub organ stabs - for the most part he's just made everything extra-dubby, extra-freaky and altogether weightier. The results are, predictably, mesmerizing, turning "Like a Hawk" and the previously unreleased "Instigator" into dancefloor dub masterpieces.
Review: Glasgow based composer Iona Fortune presents her debut release inspired by Eastern philosophy and said to be the first in an eight album series exploring the symbols of the I Ching, Her music is influenced by oriental sounds and features a palette of instruments that includes the Guzheng, Gamelan and Synthi AKS. The overall effect is a singular and beguiling sound that loosely fits in with Jon Hassell's Fourth World concept. Fortune also contributed a track to Optimo Music's new Fourth World compilation entitled Miracle Steps earlier in 2017. The initial vinyl edition will come on a trans lucid pressing with inside sleeve and original artwork by the artist.
Review: With a name for the ages, Isolating follows his recent remix of the Golden Filter with this dystopian record on Optimo. It starts with the stepping rhythm and noisy analogue riffs and howling vocal samples of "Protomartyr", a wayward take on techno. In a similar vein, "But Please" features gloomy sound scapes and a repetitive vocal unfolding over a stuttering rhythm. Isolating makes a move of sorts towards the dance floor on "Expatriotism", where the focus is on a low-slung EBM groove, while the release concludes with "Lesser Free", a comparatively serene affair featuring dreamy, neo-classical ambient textures.
Review: The revolving door between Glasgow's legendary Green Door Studio and JD Twitch's Optimo Music continues, with more graduates of the legendary recording space making their debut on the imprint. If this is EP is anything to go by, Junto Club could well go the way of Golden Teacher and become firm favourites of those who love their dance music eccentric, off-kilter and hard to pin down. Over the four tracks here, the Glaswegian fusionists variously doff a cap to baggy Balearic pop ("Freedom From The Known"), hard-wired, Italo-influenced industrial funk ("Leaving Forever"), the sax-laden post-punk throb of Chakk ("SCG"), and wonky gothic pop ("Let Me In"). That, though, is only half the story, given the combo's unique and enthralling musical vision.
Review: For the seventh volume in Optimo Music's Disco Plate series, JD Twitch has recruited Alex Warren AKA Kiwi, whose previous releases on Blase Boys Club were particularly well received. "Throw Down" is arguably his most ambition cut yet: a cover version of Carmen's cult 1986 electrofunk jam of the same name that comes in two contrasting versions. On the virtual A-side you'll find Warren's original version, where Ciara Holder's confident, nuanced vocal rides a chunky synth bassline, clipped guitars, sparkling synthesizer flourishes and an unfussy, toe-tapping drum machine rhythm. Arguably even better is the Latin Freestyle mix, which sounds like a long lost Latin Rascals production with additional, spine-tingling piano riffs.
Review: Australian-born DJ, producer and instrument maker Lia Mice began work on her sophomore set, "The Sampler As A Time Machine", following her relocation to London in 2015. Three years, numerous techno and electro club nights and countless hours spent reading books on time travel later, the album is finally complete. It's a rather fine set, all told, with Mice delivering off-kilter futurist tracks that sit somewhere between leftfield sci-fi synth-pop, metallic IDM, wonky synth-funk, bustling up-beat electro, weirdo ambient, contemporary new wave and meandering intergalactic techno. That Optimo Music has decided to release it isn't much of a surprise: it's full of the kind of inspired, stylish electronic oddities that have always appealed to boss man JD Twitch.
Review: We've been waiting on this pearl for quite some time. Optimo frontman JD Twitch steps out his more usual, disco-tinged house affairs and lands on some next level dub for the heads. As a project, Lo Kindre kind of reminds us Jah Wobble at his best, without the added pinky frills, and completed by a fine layer of dark industrialism. "Torment Of One" and "Mardi, Ennui" are both cold, brooding digital steppers backed by some sci-fi lion vibes, while "Wisdom Teeth Dub" and "Distant Dreams" branch out a little further into the electronic sphere. What a fine release - warmly recommended!
Review: Over the last couple of years, Noo (a collaboration between Plastique De Reve man Christoph 'Daze' Deasen and Bangok Impact/Putsch '79 type Sami Liuski) has delivered a trio of killer 12" singles on Optimo Music's occasional Disco Plate series. This thrill-a-minute debut album gathers together tracks from those singles, plus a couple of previously unheard bits, and shows the duo - alongside a swathe of vocalists and musicians - cheerily joining the dots between string-laden New York disco, breakdance-era electro, boogie, Moroder-ish machine grooves, and hands-in-the-air piano house. It's a terrific set, all told, full of stretched-out floor-fillers, eyes-closed anthems, and life-affirming workouts.
Review: Given that they describe their sound as "occult insomnia sex music", Glaswegian duo Organs Of Love are probably a good fit with JD Twitch's Optimo Music imprint. Coming on like a latter-day Bauhaus after a particularly degrading swingers' party in a seedy Glasgow squat, the music that makes up this four-track EP is undeniably impressive. Like much horror-fixated music, it's concerned foremost with atmosphere. Yet the delay-laden organs, clicking drums, droning guitars and pained vocals offer much more than mere aural textures. The mournful "Someone's Dead" and "Let's Talk To Bobby", in particular, are excellent songs.
Review: Presenting the new solo album from Aussie singer Penelope Trappes, who many may know as the one half of New York City duo The Golden Filter. In 2016, Trappes rented out a small piano studio in East London for the year and set out to write an introspective ambient album. Inspired by the likes of This Mortal Coil and Scott Walker, she limited the instrumentation to an acoustic piano and effects, which left spaces between where she could expose a lot of emotional vulnerabilities about herself and those she held close. Writing lullabies about being a mother in a dystopian world, with pensive words about swimming against the tide as a female artist in the current musical landscape, she felt free to divulge untold truths that she had never felt comfortable talking about within her music before. For Trappes, this was a truly liberating and empowering process and it certainly is all on display on this marvellous opus.
Review: Irish tech house hero Phil Kieran has been throwing some curveballs at us in recent times, appearing with sunny house music on Hot Creations, some punky indie dance on L.A.'s Machine Ltd (with SONNS) and now some Afro tribal grooves that'd make even Daniele Baldelli stand up and notice - his new one for Optimo Music. With a name like "Polyrhythmic" it pretty much does what it says on the tin, but this trance inducing use of syncopated rhythm is definitely the most restrained of the bunch. "Polyrhthmical" and "Polyrhythmica" respectively go for some seriously intense latin carnivale rhythms - in particular the latter which is reminiscent of the Good Men or more directly the legendary Sergio Mendes.
Review: Optimo Music founder JD Twitch has a hotline to Glasgow's Green Door Studio, and tends to get first refusal for much of the wild and wonderful material recorded there. His latest Green Door-raised recruits are Pussy Mother, a "cross continental" duo made up of a native Scot, and an Australian. There's plenty to get excited about on this no-nonsense debut EP, from the metallic, spaced-out percussion hits, trippy vocals and moody electronics of "Skirt", and Golden Teacher-go-Latin jazz flex of "Echo Party", to the loved-up, Quando Quango-sampling curio that is "When I Get It Right". Closer "Wrap Machine", a mutant electro-meets-new wave shuffler, is also pretty hot.
Review: For the second instalment of the occasional Optimo Music Disco Plate series, JD Twitch has decided to reissue two classic cuts (both initially released in 1996) from Reel Houze - a hook-up between DJ D and Rob Mello. Opener "The Chance (DJ D Dub Plate Mix)" is something of an overlooked, hard-to-find classic - a wild, unwieldy, delay-laden dub-disco romp based around a cheeky sample from Dinosaur's "Go Bang" and "toilet seat percussion" from DJ Harvey. Flip for the similarly epic "No Difference (Real Houze Dub)", which has a looser and deeper feel. Despite the trippy vibe, it's every bit as potent as its predecessor, with military drum rolls, heady vocal samples and jaunty clavinets drifting in and out of the duo's delay-laden mix.
Review: There are reissues and then there are reissues like Different Voices. The tracks on this EP were recorded by Robert Rental back in 1980 and lay for years unplayed and untouched in the possession of Rental's family. This material is given loving treatment by Optimo and shows a strikingly personal side to the deceased artist who mainly collaborated with Daniel Miller and Thomas Leer. In places, like on "Big Day", Rental veers close to off-kilter psychedelic pop, while on other occasions, he experiments with electronics and reverb to deliver the syncopated, hypno-groove of "Double Heart" and drops the slurred vocals and lo-fi guitars of "Before Closing Doors". It's an essential release for anyone with an interest in 80s DIY electronic music.
Review: Having previously impressed with a trio of EPs on Tim Paris's Marketing Music label, Sex Judas (a duo comprising an "anonymous Norwegian producer and his trusted sidekick Ricky") pops up on Optimo Music. The duo's contribution to the ever-growing Disco Plate series is a deep disco delight, with the unpronounceable A-side delivering a delicious blend of loose, organic instrumentation, stoner-rock influences, cheeky pianos and eccentric, Mungolian Jet Set style vocals. The comparisons with Pal Nyhus and company are even greater on "Pope Naked The First", which picks up the pace via rubbery slap bass, spacey synths and classic electrofunk touches. That track gets a twisted disco-acid remix, too, a trick that the Mungs have played on more than one occasion.