Eclectic DJ/production duo Optimo is made up of Jonnie Wilkes and Keith McIvor (a.k.a. JD Twitch), the latter of which is resonsible for mixing Optimo: The Underground Sound of Glasgow. And there probably couldn't have been a better choice for the task, as the resulting compilation makes for a brilliant introduction to the diverse, unusual, and often underrated electronic scene in Glasgow.
On Underground, McIvor takes us through acid, house, and techno, occasionally leaning toward '90s bleep and electro vibes, chugging disco rhythms, and Balearic sway. His mix reflects Optimo's open-yet-discerning approach to dance music, even while the tracklist consists entirely of Glasgow-centric contributors. The music on Optimo speaks volumes about the creativity flowing through the Scottish city, but it also fearlessly and proudly references more traditional Glaswegian culture, opening with a traditional ballad before leading into a dancefloor rework of a collaborative track from veteran jazz musician Bill Wells and Arab Strap's Aidan Moffat.
Generally, the names in the tracklist are largely unheard of, but there are a few recognizable artists peppered throughout. 6th Borough Project provides a big thrust near the beginning with "Do It to the Max," a flailing disco-house tune. The warm, Afro-centric techno of Auntie Flo makes an appearance, and even gritty techno/house veteran Funk D'Void closes the proceedings with a triumphant effort. Cowbell rhythms and disco posturing mark Cronk Family Enterprises' "Tifit Hayed" before it perfectly segues into a beatless, Italo fantasy by Lord of the Isles. Planet Mu affiliate Konx Om Pax sings his only contribution to the mix in a jokey answerphone message, which is testament to the tightly knit relationships between Optimo and its hometown friends.
Optimo flows unquestionably well, and it's impressive how JD Twitch has managed to assemble such a variety of talents into a cohesive work that rings with the bubbling, slightly wonky atmosphere of the best Glasgow warehouse party imaginable. It proudly, even smilingly speaks to the amazing hotbed of talent and enthusiasm right under the UK's nose, and does so without ever coming off as overly contrived.