Music

Optimo: Psych Out

A motley array of psychedelic, acid, rare grooves and the best song that Simple Minds ever recorded.


Optimo

Optimo Presents Psych Out

Label: Eskimo
US Release Date: 2006-07-11
UK Release Date: 2005-05-10
Amazon
iTunes

Optimo is a Scottish DJ duo: Twitch and Jonnie Wilkes. Or, perhaps more accurately, Optimo is a club in Glasgow, Scotland that seems to pride itself on its musical eclecticism, if this release is anything to go by. This mix CD offers a motley assortment of acid house, psychedelia, experimental tracks, rare grooves, and Simple Minds.

From Psych Out seeps a stinky, dark, sweaty nightclub. If 10 or even 20 years ago, like me, you felt the need to go to cheap student clubs in search of a good time, or even just a late drink, you would have found yourself treated to the sort of musical delights found on this release. Listening to the CD brings back memories of a damp, beer-soaked carpet, a smoke-filled room, and toilets that refuse to perform their most basic duty.

How these guys can maintain a straight face as they mix Mr Fingers into Chris and Cosey is a mystery to me. Quite how they came up with the idea of mixing The Temptations classic "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" into a hard house track is perhaps best left a mystery. Suffice it to say, any record that includes Hawkwind and Simple Minds within the same frame of reference deserves some kind of accolade. I'm not too sure whether it is a good thing, but I am glad that they did it nonetheless. All of this is packaged in a horrible pink-and-blue Day-Glo cover that is, frankly, impossible to read. So psychedelic and whacky.

Psych Out works on a number of levels. It's a cool introduction to some lost gems (the Silver Apples' "Oscillations" should be played to children as part of their history lessons), and it will serve as a reminder to those funky kids that frequent this Glasgow venue, as well as for those like me who are too old to get into these places any more (aah, poor me). All in all, it should be worth the price of admission.

Except it isn't. Something is not quite right in the land of Optimo. The sound quality just does not stand up to scrutiny. In a dark, smelly, smoke-filled club, after you have had more than your fair share of the intoxicant of your choice, everything just sounds cool and groovy. However, when you take these songs from various decades (from the '60s, '80s, and so on) and put them together, you begin to realise that that production values have changed somewhat over the last 50 years. A little bit of warble here and a volume drop there just make you think that you would rather be in the club itself, rather than listen to an approximation burnt on to CD. After all CDs and digital media in general are much less forgiving of sound inconsistencies than your beer-addled memory. That said, there are some great tunes on here that still manage to excite more than 10 years after their original release. It is always good to hear Simple Minds' "Theme for Great Cities" on a relatively new release, even if it is mixed with a lesser-known acid house tune.

The bottom line is, if you are looking for a mix CD in the vein of 2 Many DJs, then forget it. Optimo's choice of songs is not as cool, the mixing ain't really up to much, and the sound quality of the some of the recordings is very poor. However, if would like a musical history lesson where you'll be introduced to a bunch of tunes that you would not stumble upon normally, then this one is for you. Just get yourself some dark glasses before you look at the cover.

6


Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Books

A Fresh Look at Free Will and Determinism in Terry Gilliam's '12 Monkeys'

Susanne Kord gets to the heart of the philosophical issues in Terry Gilliam's 1995 time-travel dystopia, 12 Monkeys.

Music

The Devonns' Debut Is a Love Letter to Chicago Soul

Chicago's the Devonns pay tribute the soul heritage of their city with enough personality to not sound just like a replica.

Music

Jaye Jayle's 'Prisyn' Is a Dark Ride Into Electric Night

Jaye Jayle salvage the best materials from Iggy Pop and David Bowie's Berlin-era on Prisyn to construct a powerful and impressive engine all their own.

Music

Kathleen Edwards Finds 'Total Freedom'

Kathleen Edwards is back making music after a five-year break, and it was worth the wait. The songs on Total Freedom are lyrically delightful and melodically charming.

Television

HBO's 'Lovecraft Country' Is Heady, Poetic, and Mangled

Laying the everyday experience of Black life in 1950s America against Cthulhuian nightmares, Misha Green and Jordan Peele's Lovecraft Country suggests intriguing parallels that are often lost in its narrative dead-ends.

Music

Jaga Jazzist's 'Pyramid' Is an Earthy, Complex, Jazz-Fusion Throwback

On their first album in five years, Norway's Jaga Jazzist create a smooth but intricate pastiche of styles with Pyramid.

Music

Finding the Light: An Interview with Kathy Sledge

With a timeless voice that's made her the "Queen of Club Quarantine", Grammy-nominated vocalist Kathy Sledge opens up her "Family Room" and delivers new grooves with Horse Meat Disco.

Books

'Bigger Than History: Why Archaeology Matters'

On everything from climate change to gender identity, archaeologists offer vital insight into contemporary issues.

Film

'Avengers: Endgame' Culminates 2010's Pop Culture Phenomenon

Avengers: Endgame features all the expected trappings of a superhero blockbuster alongside surprisingly rich character resolutions to become the most crowd-pleasing finalés to a long-running pop culture series ever made.

Music

Max Richter's 'VOICES' Is an Awe-Inspiring and Heartfelt Soundscape

Choral singing, piano, synths, and an "upside-down" orchestra complement crowd-sourced voices from across the globe on Max Richter's VOICES. It rewards deep listening, and acts as a global rebuke against bigotry, extremism and authoritarianism.

Music

DYLYN Dares to "Find Myself" by Facing Fears and Life's Dark Forces (premiere + interview)

Shifting gears from aspiring electropop princess to rock 'n' rule dream queen, Toronto's DYLYN is re-examining her life while searching for truth with a new song and a very scary-good music video.

Music

JOBS Make Bizarre and Exhilarating Noise with 'endless birthdays'

Brooklyn experimental quartet JOBS don't have a conventional musical bone in their body, resulting in a thrilling, typically off-kilter new album, endless birthdays.

Music

​Nnamdï' Creates a Lively Home for Himself in His Mind on 'BRAT'

Nnamdï's BRAT is a labyrinth detailing the insular journey of a young, eclectic DIY artist who takes on the weighty responsibility of reaching a point where he can do what he loves for a living.

Music

Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few Play It Cool​

Austin's Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few perform sophisticatedly unsophisticated jazz/Americana that's perfect for these times

Music

Eleanor Underhill Takes Us to the 'Land of the Living' (album stream)

Eleanor Underhill's Land of the Living is a diverse album drawing on folk, pop, R&B, and Americana. It's an emotionally powerful collection that inspires repeated listens.

Music

How Hawkwind's First Voyage Helped Spearhead Space Rock 50 Years Ago

Hawkwind's 1970 debut opened the door to rock's collective sonic possibilities, something that connected them tenuously to punk, dance, metal, and noise.

Books

Graphic Novel 'Cuisine Chinoise' Is a Feast for the Eyes and the Mind

Lush art and dark, cryptic fables permeate Zao Dao's stunning graphic novel, Cuisine Chinoise.

Music

Alanis Morissette's 'Such Pretty Forks in the Road' Is a Quest for Validation

Alanis Morissette's Such Pretty Forks in the Road is an exposition of dolorous truths, revelatory in its unmasking of imperfection.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.