Dark Was the Night
Twenty-seven samples of music have been included on the Voyager golden phonograph records that launched into space with both Voyager spacecrafts in 1977. They were put aboard to represent the diversity of life on Earth for any intelligent extraterrestrial life who may find them in the interstellar space, the region between stars where the galactic plasma is present. Among the sounds and images selected to portray the culture on Earth is also Blind Willie Johnson's song "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground." He is there to represent the human expression of loneliness. Blind Willie Johnson died penniless decades before, of malaria fever, after sleeping bundled in wet newspapers in the ruins of his house that had burned down, a tragic story that moves the heart and soul of Jonnie Wilkes and Keith McIvor. The two lads from Glasgow, Scotland are globally famous as DJs, label-heads, producers, remixers, party-throwers, and party-goers under their moniker Optimo. For both, the story of Blind Willie Johnson and his song is a moving tale that exemplifies the power of music. Now it guides them on their sixth official DJ mix. "We wanted to make a mix CD of dark music but without resorting to clichés about what dark music is. Each mix we have done reflects a different part of the night and this mix is our attempt to invoke the sounds of a dark winter's night but at the same time we feel the music is far from being cold and soulless and is full of atmosphere and feeling." The Sub Club resident DJs reveal their intentions behind a mix that covers artists like Berlin's dark techno newcomer Recondite, native Detroit techno misfit Terrence Dixon, New York City minimal wave veterans Jeff & Jayne Hudson, and the late '70s Scottish punk band The Freeze. A selection of heterogeneous musical approaches that sound homogenous at any second. On their night not only the smiling faces crowd the floor: the sad and lonely dance, too -- to soulful, transcendent music of the spheres. When you want to trap their mix in styles again, Optimo go the genre-spanning way: melancholic techno, spaced-out acid house, minimal wave, or even bittersweet synth-pop. This is a mix that would perfectly fit on one of those Voyager phonograph records, telling all extraterrestrials and future humans who find it that the humans of the now are able to dance to the deepest haunting sounds. Other artists include: Grouper, Jared Wilson, Qx-1, Roberto Auser, Byetone, Kode 9 & Space Ape, Hieroglyphic Being, Silent Servant, Inigo Kennedy, Hecker, Nurse With Wound, Carter Tutti, Voigt & Voigt, Holy Ghost Inc., Deadboy, Like A Tim, and Angel Corpus Christi.