Caught by the River

Optimo "Sleepwalk"

13th October 2008

When records arrive in the post in the CBTR office from the Domino label, you can pretty much guarantee they’ll be ace. In the fifteen years since they began their journey they’ve released scores of exemplary records from the likes of Pavement, Elliot Smith, Smog, Will Oldham, Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys – records that go on to act as corner stones of our record collections. Last Friday, they sent over a compilation lovingly put together by Glasgow based DJs Optimo. It’s been on constant, heavy rotation ever since.

The album, “Sleepwalk”, might as well be the soundtrack to Caught By The River the movie – tranq’d out, mellow, reflective, uplifting… it’s a record made for the changing of the seasons. I mean, you need to be buying any record that meanders it’s way from a Chris Watson field recording towards the peerless Karen Dalton’s “Something On Your Mind”; one that manages to fuse Duke Ellington’s jump jazz to Lee Hazlewood’s lounge lizard version of “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” – his just-the-right-side-of-dementedly-sleazy reading of the line “C’mon over baby/We’ve got chicken in the barn” is worth the admission price alone. With so much talk of the death of the music industry and about how everything needs to shift units, it’s incredibly reassuring to know that some people out there are looking at the bigger picture and thinking “maybe it’s enough to just make great records?” Hats off to Optimo and to Domino for “Sleepwalk” – a contender for our record of the year already.

(Also in the package were the new Juana Molina album and Jon Savage’s early electro comp – both off the scale brilliant – we’ll be writing more on them in the next few days) (RT)

Optimo on the Domino site