Ever since he made his first trip to Japan to DJ, Optimo Music founder JD Twitch has been bewitched by Japanese music, and particularly the vibrant, imaginative, and often far-sighted sounds which emerged from the island nation during the 1980s. Now he’s put years of digging in Japanese record shops to good use on Polyphonic Cosmos, the latest release on his compilation-focused Cease & Desist imprint. Eight years in the making, Polyphonic Cosmos provides an endlessly entertaining musical snapshot of Japanese music of the early-to-mid ‘80s with all of the open-minded eclecticism and sonic twists that you would expect from the Glasgow-based DJ.
A7 Edits is back with its second installment from JD Twitch (Optimo). Volume 2 offers two edits alongside their sought after original counterparts from Africa Seven favourites’ M’Bamina and Tala AM.
Optimo Trax 30 celebrates a double 30 year anniversary: the original release date of Rejekto’ and 30 years since Twitch started dj’ing. In 1987, Twitch, who wasn’t known as Twitch yet, picked up a copy of Rejekto’ at Glasgow’s then numero uno import shop, 23rd Precinct. Shortly after that he got his first ever dj gig and played Rejekto’ in his first ever dj set. Nobody danced to it. He kept playing it and still nobody danced to it. Eventually he gave up playing it, but never stopped loving it. A few years ago he felt the time was right to try playing it again, and this time, people danced to it. In fact, people loved it and would ask about it and shriek in delight when they heard it. From Germany, written and produced by Ra-Hen and Talla 2XLC, Robotiko Reject’s Rejekto’ was the inaugural release on the Techno Drome International label. With a powerful and seductive vocal sung in Romanian it has latterly been categorised as EBM/Techno but at the time didn’t really fit into any convenient genre. Twitch called it electrobeat.
Following the recent release of So Low, a compilation of early ‘80s synth, industrial and cold wave classics and undiscovered gems curated by Optimo’s JD Twitch aka Keith McIvor, The Vinyl Factory are set to release specially commissioned remixes of two tracks on the 16-track compilation by rising UK producer Powell and Hamburg’s Helena Hauff.
Optimo’s prolific DJ/producer/label boss JD Twitch aka Keith McIvor has curated a compilation of early ‘80s synth, industrial and cold wave classics and undiscovered gems in collaboration with The Vinyl Factory, titled So Low. The 16-track collection had its genesis in McIvor’s irregular club night of the same name in his hometown of Glasgow. “So Low is an occasional night at The Poetry Club in Glasgow where I play some of the music I played when I first started DJing back in 1987,” McIvor explains. “At that time the audience I played to mostly loathed what I was playing and rarely danced but then shortly after, when House music arrived I found a different audience who actually liked to dance. In response to my wife’s deep love of this music and requests from some friends who were too young to hear it in a club at the time, or indeed were not even born when most of this music was made, I was persuaded to revisit a lot of records I still loved but rarely played out, and So Low was born. It has an extremely enthusiastic audience, a joyous atmosphere and is the antithesis of what a club in Scotland playing this music nearly 30 years ago would have been like.”
Optimo Trax 015 sees label boss JD Twitch indulge his love of cult Australian DIY act Severed Heads with a trio of dub version culled from the B-sides of their 1980s 12″ output. Titled quite artfully Big Saints Reward (1987 – 90 dubs), perennial Twitch favourite “Greater Reward” features prominently with the Dub version accompanied by an all new “Piano Power Edit” from the Optimo man which takes full advantage of the glorious keys that characterise the track. Complementing these, the B-side houses “Big Car (Crash dub)” and “All Saints Day (Saints Dub Day)” which add further credence to the notion Severed Heads are one of the most important acts in the formation of club music as we know it today.
While JD Twitch & JG Wilkes aka Optimo are undoubtedly men-for-all-seasons musically, as anyone who’s seen them in action behind the decks will attest, they’re often at their best when creating a mood, delving deep into their bulging record collections to showcase sludgy curiosities, dark electronics and intoxicating oddities. Pleasingly, it’s this side of their multiple personalities that’s explored on Dark Was The Night, their sixth commercially available mix CD. Predictably, it’s a doozy, effortlessly joining the dots between the moody deep acid house of QX-1’s “I Won’t Hurt You”, the pulsating industrial rhythms of Carter Tutti, the icy melodies and snowy rhythms of Recondite’s “Cleric”, and the paranoid dubstep of Kode 9 and Space Ape.
Optimo Trax is an offshoot label of Optimo Music for tracks aimed at DJs/dancefloors. These four tracks sound as great today as when they were made, over 20 years ago by Dutch techno veteran Maarten Van Der Vleuten, who should be a far more well-known name than he is, as he’s responsible for oodles of marvellous 12” singles.
Its been a long time cooking and coming… WPH brings you a tribute to the biggest Belgian electronic music heritage, new beat! But this is no ordinary compilation that is just more recycling of things past. Just like in our regular releases WPH brings it fresh with respect to the past. And so it goes that Red D decided to ask a bunch of his favourite producers of new and old to make a new track inspired by Belgian new beat from the 80ies.
Blondes, the duo of Sam Haar and Zach Steinman, release their self-titled debut album for RVNG Intl. The release includes a 8 original tracks CD and a remix CD, featuring among others JD Twitch, John Roberts, Andy Stott and Traxx.