Various Artists | WIG211 | Released: 27/10/08
On Sleepwalk, Glasgow’s legendary Optimo, or to give the club its full name, Optimo (Espacio), takes you out from the subterranean possibilities of the nightclub into some deep, deep, inner space.
Now celebrating over ten years of running the UK’s hippest club, DJs Twitch and Wilkes have presided over a night that’s let loose a wild party of incendiary live performances and an unclassifiable mix of underground sounds and styles. In the tradition of all the best clubs, Optimo’s energy comes from a direct two-way conversation between the booth and the dancefloor, as well as sweat pouring from the walls and smiles from the faces you’ll inevitably encounter a degree of musical education. The only way of describing the music you’ll hear at Optimo is Optimo music.
Sleepwalk is a listening collection. Where you might choose to listen to it is half the fun: a psychedelic meadow, a hot air balloon or an autumnally damp West End flat in Glasgow all come to mind. Just as genre defying as the tracks you’d hear on the dancefloor, Sleepwalk comes across like a beautiful blur. Not so much soft focus as a misted up lens. Drifting across the mix is Damon’s Gypsy psyche, bucolic analogue ennui from mid-70s Germany, Lee Hazelwood at his most dissolute and intoxicated, Duke Ellington played straight, Arthur Russell and Karen Dalton juxtaposed as spectral songwriters, and a whole lot of fragments of considered musical beauty.
If you associate the likes of Nurse With Wound, Coil, Tuxedomoon and Chris & Cosey with the sturm und drang of machine music be prepared to be seduced by the tracks here that sting and soothe with their clarity, like the very best eye drops. Glasgow is represented by Future Pilot AKA; his ability to pull from different directions and produce a radical musical statement echoes perfectly the club’s ability to spin clichés on their head and come up with a new musical archetype: exhilarating, inclusive, outsider party fun. Did Raymond Scott ever sound so narcotic? Were the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on remand?
If the club specialises in getting you to move your body and shake a fist then Sleepwalk is head music. Forget the square version of downtempo, late night chill out, Sleepwalk reconnects home listening to its lineage at its abstract best: Discreet Music, the Artificial Intelligence series, A Rainbow In Curved Air – this is a mixtape put together your for your mind’s eye.
Head to head.