Optimo

Walkabout

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Presumably mixed in a featureless Siberian bunker by Optimo's J.G. Wilkes -- his partner, J.D. Twitch, might've been incapacitated at the time, sprawled across the bunker floor, his brainpan scoped by abrasive rhythmic sounds shooting off the walls -- Walkabout contrasts considerably with the Scottish duo's previous commercial mixes, 2004's bewildering How to Kill the DJ, Pt. 2 and 2005's tripped-out Psyche Out. In spite of its varied sources, including burbling acid house, bone-dry minimal techno, early electro-pop, frayed and highly frictional goofball house, willfully alienating electronic sound sculptures, and even a sparse guitar piece, context makes the whole program sound industrial. Evident by looking at its track list, with names like Throbbing Gristle, Suicide, and Black Dice, the disc is not designed to please a crowd, or even the average individual in search of a pick-me-up or a good time in the traditional senses. The set clangs, clanks, pings, buzzes, and sears, and its rate isn't even close to steady, so it's not even for masochistic dancers who like their pummelings served nonstop. Hearing the set for the first time, without knowing what's coming, would be particularly challenging during the mid-section. Tracks one through six are at least suitable for a dancefloor, but once Philus' "Kuvio 3" shows up, with its steady thump and pinging/panning tones, and worms its way inside Lenny Dee & Nikolai Vorkapich's buried Nu Groove treasure "The Virus," one's dancing bearings would be shot. Shane Berry's following "Fillertet 2," while initially straightforward in a relative sense, rapidly turns into a large and malfunctioning crosscut saw, gradually hacking away at "The Virus" until it is laid to waste. And what could follow but a gently scrawling neo-"Maggot Brain" guitar solo (with minimal accompaniment from a rhythm guitar and what sounds like slowed-down wind howls) from Japanese noise-metal trio Boris? From there, it takes another several minutes before the beats resume, hammering away in clenched fits and jarring starts until the end. Not for everyone.

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