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Stare Upon My Works - The Quietus Reissues & Compilations Of 2011
John Doran , December 23rd, 2011 18:06

From century old African music on 78rpm discs to pirate radio DJ mix tapes, we list all the exciting action that happened outside of the studio in music this year

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As with the Quietus Albums Of 2011 feature, this chart listing our favourite reissues, compilations, split albums, field recordings, live releases, remix anthologies, streamed live concerts and downloadable mix sets, isn't a comment on what 'we're about' merely a reflection of what we've been listening to.

While there have been some albums that we consider key to the Quietus reissued this year such as JAMC's Psychocandy, Suede's back catalogue, more by the Bad Seeds, most of Queen's albums etc, the stuff that we've really enjoyed hearing more than anything else has either been new to us or presented in a new context. With each individual artist, we've tried to restrict ourselves to one release (even though some crop up in different roles and guises such as Chris and Cosey and Ben UFO). On a different year, for example, The Fall's Marshall Suite would have been a shoe-in for inclusion but it had to give way to BB's excellent Omnibus Edition of This Nation's Saving Grace. But the rule of the shock of the new applies to older, more well known albums as well. For example, many lists have quite rightly singled out TG's 20 Jazz Funk Greats as a notable reissue of the year because of the album's undisputed underground canonical status. We actually feel that there is more to be learned and enjoyed from the new double disc Heathen Earth reissue this time round however because of Chris Carter's remastering, the additional tracks and liner notes etc.

Again it may look like we are an inconsistent bunch of fellows but the sad departure of Ben Hewitt and the happy arrival of Rory Gibb at tQ Towers has impacted on us noticeably since summer's list - hence the violent differences between this and our half year chart.

There are albums here that could have easily been included in the main list. Chris Watson's amazing recording of a train journey, Gary Numan's clutch of reworked out-takes, Desert Island Dicks and Where Woodwose Walk's split album for example but before anyone gets angry please be aware that we're not primarily interested in taxonomy and the like, more in the discussion to be had round music new and old.

Finally, we tend to be more flexible about our start date of 1974 when it comes to reissues and are more inclined to include older recordings if they fit our "ahead of their time" criteria - no matter how old fashioned they may appear ostensibly. There's a good argument to be made that some of the most 'modern' recordings that appear on this list can be found on the John Fahey and Africa at 78RPM compilations.

As always, please let us know what your own favourite releases of this kind in 2011 have been.

50. Mercury Rev - Deserter's Songs

"After See You On The Other Side we went through a giant sea change in the way we viewed what was going on. With the group, it was the way we interacted with each other, but most of all the way we interacted with life, personally. In the period after See You On The Other Side and before Deserter's Songs there was a total dissolve of self, and I think in part that is where the record began, in that dissolving of everything. When we began it we didn't have a manager, a label or a lawyer, everything had completely ground to a halt. I don't know exactly how it all began again, when the bubble began to go again, or what sparked it, but something did. I can remember it was down to just... darkness." Jonathan Donahue

Read a Quietus feature on Mercury Rev here

49. Queen – News Of The World

"1 Now it came to pass, in the seventh year of Queen, that they released their finest album.

2 And from that moment on when the children of the Tribes Of America gathered to watch goat head football or the children of the Tribes Of Syria did gather to see a stoning, they would be accompanied by the sound of STOMP, STOMP, CLAP! STOMP, STOMP, CLAP! Which came to be known as ‘We Will Rock You’.

3 And when the Gladiators killed yet another batch of hapless Christians in the amphitheatre they did sing ‘We Are The Champions’. But it was a very hollow and deeply unpleasant rendition.

4 And one of the most apocryphal sounding meetings of the 1970s (but actually true) did lead to one of Queen’s finest moments. For it came to pass that Sid Vicious, high priest to all oafs, did harangue Dear Freddie thus, “Still bringing ballet to the masses?” Only to be told, “One tries one’s hardest, Mr Ferocious.”

5 This spiritual victory was then made physical by the recording of their superior and fabulously harmonised ‘punk’ song ‘Sheer Heart Attack’ whose drum roll, ironically, expertly mimics the sound one hears while undergoing a fatal, cocaine induced cardiac arrest.

6 And lo, Queen quite fancied a dance and not caring a jot what anyone else thought, they revelled in both disco rock (‘Fight From The Inside’) and funk (‘Get Down Make Love’).

7 And also in contention for album highlight was ‘It’s Late’, featuring a riff that would equal most from AC/DC’s catalogue, some (then) revolutionary finger tapping from Brian May and Freddie treating the last chance of the evening to pull with the same kind of enthusiasm that Cecil B. DeMille usually reserved for the onscreen deployment of biblical plagues." John Doran

Read the Quietus review of News Of The World here

48. Paul McCartney - McCartney II

"McCartney I arrived at number one in the UK charts and Wings began their slow descent to ground. Though McCartney had greater financial success from his time with Wings than in all his time with The Beatles, he still desired Scotland's ground beneath his feet, because Scotland represented the opportunity and freedom to record without structure. The technology available at the time meant that McCartney II would become an altogether more experimental work; one that would incorporate synthesisers and a sense of galloping adventure. After all, for a man who had conquered the charts, what did he have to lose? What did McCartney have to prove?" Ash Akhtar

Read the Quietus review of McCartney II here

47. The Kelly Twins - A Mix For Bass Music Blog

"We are the Kelly twins, (our surname is Kelly and we are actual twins), We have been DJing together for the best part of twelve years and pride ourselves on playing across the board, drawing influence from the past as well as the present and only ever playing things that we genuinely like. Since moving to Bristol from Plymouth seven years ago, we have played at a wide variety of nights and held down several residencies. At present we run our own club night which is called UFO, we are part of team Crazylegs, residents for the Bristol wing of RnB mecca So Bones and members of the Idle Hands family." Bass Music Blog bio

Listen to The Kelly Twins Mix here

46. Leonard Cohen - Box Set

"As we gear up for the release of Leonard Cohen’s new album Old Ideas in late January, this no-frills box set neatly sums up all that has gone before. Few artists would be able to release an 11 album set that spans early acoustic folk and grandiose 80s synth jazz without it feeling incoherent, an awkward mishmash of styles and ideas. With Cohen, though, the unifying thread is that gloriously decaying smokey voice and the majesty of his lyrics, encompassing the personal and the universal with grace rarely encountered in the lurid climes of pop & roll." Luke Turner

45. The Juan Maclean – Everybody Get Close

"Everybody Get Close basically came out because I'm working on a new album right now that I was supposed to turn in last month, and I've just taken too long to make. It's the kind of thing you put out when you want to buy a little bit more time [laughs]. There's stuff that I always wanted to put out that I wasn't going to put on a record, and there's no place to put it out." John Maclean

Read the Quietus interview with John Maclean here

44. LFO – Frequencies

"LFO's 1991 album Frequencies was one of those seminal early Warp records that came to define entire dancefloor movements in later years. Melding everything from electro and hip-hop to techno and acid house, LFO's was a distinctly UK-borne hybrid sort of sound, one that set a template for the next 20 years of British dance music evolution: mutation, recombination, energy and just the right dose of rudeness. Its remastered reissue this year comes at a time when UK electronic music is once again creeping into the attention of the mainstream (thanks to dubstep, and a general sense of boredom at the predictability of most guitar music in 2011) - as a reminder of its roots, the timing couldn't be better." Rory Gibb

43. Various Artists - Cartagena

"The SS Soundway once again sets sail for warmer climes, dropping anchor at the tropical coast of South America or in the harbour of titular Colombian town of Cartagena to be precise. This compilation focuses on the family run Disco Fuentes label which was established in the 1940s and still operates to this day and rich 1960s it enjoyed. This extremely dancefloor friendly selection of 19 tracks comes from a period in the label’s history when it was rejecting the supposed sophistication of European fashions and mixing cumbia, salsa, porro and fandango with traditional Afro-Caribbean and big band styles. These tracks may be cocktail hour smooth but there are furious timbale monstering rhythms powering the whole shebang. An effortlessly suave compilation." John Doran

42. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Let Love In

"While picking up where Henry's Dream left off, 1994's Let Love In finds Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds finally grasping and mastering the sound they'd been striving to achieve since 1986's Your Funeral, My Trial. Defining a new vernacular in rock music, the band's eighth album not only paints from broad brush strokes that saw them tackling a number of wide ranging styles – the demented lust of 'Loverman' and 'Do You Love Me?', the heartfelt yet pained balladry of 'Nobody's Baby', the speaker-shredding intensity of 'Jangling Jack' and 'Thirsty Dog' – but, as evidenced by the chilling intensity of 'Do You Love Me? (Part 2)' also a subtlety that reveals great thought, empathy and sensitivity. As much a summation of what had gone on before, Let Love In stands as a culmination of a decade's work." Julian Marszalek

Read the Quietus review of Let Love In here

41. Orchestre Poly Rhythmo de Cotonou - The First Album

"Founded way back in 1966, the Orchestre's heyday saw them release over 50 albums that partnered thousands of performances in the clubs and bars of Benin, where they occasionally shared a stage with Fela Kuti. A Marxist-Leninist government and the deaths of two key members in the early 80s spelled the end. But such a remarkable and prolific group was unlikely to remain undiscovered for too long, and soon their work came to the attention of the Analog Africa label, who released a series of compilations (and this month reissue their 1973 debut LP)." Andy Thomas

Read the Quietus review of The First Album here

40. Various Artists - Bangs & Works Vol. 2

"Here, it's all about the twists and turns – the bluffs and dummies incorporated into footwork production that trip and wrongside dancers into having to think "on their feet". Scene originator RP Boo claims the first footwork rhythm was programmed in about five-minutes. He opens this compilation with 'Heavy Heat' – no more than a hotch-potch of incongruous sounds, with the odd 808 snare thrown in to keep it all from falling apart. For all it's worth, it could just be the intro from Pharoahe Monch's 'Simon Says' skipping on a malfunctioning CD player. But as the disparate snippets of vocal and siren build up around one another, they start to form a semi-logical pattern, hinting at something greater than the sum of its parts. There's a looseness in the footwork template that allows for an almost free-jazz aesthetic – where snares don't have to hit on every third beat and samples are broken and retriggered so many times over that they form their own unique linguistic framework." Charlie Frame

Read the Quietus review of Bangs & Works Vol. 2 here

39. Tandy Love – Turk Jerk

"Tandy Love's Anagram Jam sequel Turk Jerk AKA Anatolian Anagrams. Features 13 tracks of "Marmalised and De-Pipped" obscure-as-hell Turk-ish psych funk disco punk and cosmic floor fillers and mind benders." Finders Keepers bio

Read a Quietus feature on Finders Keepers here

38. Lucy - A Mix for Resident Advisor

"Lucy: producer, DJ, founder of Stroboscopic Artefacts. That’s probably how you know him. But there’s also Luca Mortellaro, a published author, experimental sound designer, and the man behind the Lucy moniker. There’s no doubt that the two are linked, but it’s certainly the hidden facets of Luca Mortellaro that are responsible for the dynamic output of Lucy. In 2005 Lucy left his native Italy for Paris. In search of romance? Perhaps. The fact that the very first demo he ever sent was noticed by James Holden and that he’s now releasing on Luke Slater’s Mote Evolver, makes Lucy’s story more than romantic, it’s fit for the silver screen." Resident Advisor bio

This excellent podcast is now archived but watch out for more on Lucy/Stroboscopic on The Quietus coming soon

37. Various Artists - Disco Discharge: Disco Fever USA

"I was a kid in the 1970s so I used to buy disco 7”s and the great compilation albums on Ronco and K-Tel. My real introduction was when I met my boyfriend (Steve Matthews) in the mid-80s. He’d been on the scene a bit longer than me. It’s quite clear that disco has come back into favour over the last four or five years, especially with the whole re-edit culture that’s sprung up. It was out of favour for quite a while but that’s not the case now. Horsemeat Disco has really helped pave the way for this kind of thing. Hopefully it will continue like this as well." Mr Pinks

Read the Quietus feature on Disco Discharge here

36. Various Artists - Opika Pende: Africa At 78 RPM

"It is therefore to be feared that the modern efforts to protect culture are coming too late. As yet, we hardly know what African music is. If we do not hasten to collect it systematically and to record it by means of the phonograph, we shall not even learn what it was." Erich Von Hornbostel, 1928

35. Various Artists - Sofrito

"There isn't a bad song on this album and the simple act of playing it feels like you are summoning better weather. An early highlight is 'Je Ne Bois Pas Beaucoup' by Les Ya Toupas Du Zaire, who are local heroes in Congolese terms. This track, recorded in Benin in the late 1970s, is a trance-like soukous or African rhumba with lilting guitars over skittering hi-hats and a rock-solid funk bass line. If you don't already own this track you need to take immediate steps to rectify the matter; it will act as a very immediate example of why a lot of people consider Zaire to be the most influential country in terms of African music in general." John Doran

Read the Quietus review of Sofrito here

34. Gary Numan - Dead Son Rising

"Of course this album is something of a stopgap before the long promised "bulldozer riff-fest" of his next album Splinter but it's by no means a throwaway effort. While it is clearly a compilation of songs rather than a cohesive whole, this is by no means a bad thing either. Working with right hand man, Ade Fenton, the emphasis is on moody other worldly techno ('Resurrection') and tantalisingly the spirit of Tubeway Army is resurrected on 'For The Rest Of My Life'. The kind of colossal industrial bangers that he's made his stock trade over the last decade get a look in as well in the shape of 'Big Noise Transmission' ("Come on little fucker you can let me out!") and the arena shaped 'When The Sky Bleeds He Will Come'." John Doran

Read the Quietus review of Dead Son Rising here

33. Various Artists – Life Is Dance

"It should be said that the release of this compilation was purposely delayed as it was originally scheduled to come out at the same time that Pakistan ended up experiencing its worst natural disaster: the horrifying floods that engulfed the south of the country whose effects have still not fully abated. Releasing a compilation that encouraged people to dance and enjoy life with this as a backdrop didn't feel appropriate. Not that all those particular troubles have been ironed out at the time of writing - as was the case when our first volumen came out in 2008, Pakistan is still facing an extended period of difficulty, whether via the forces of nature, the country's militant elements or internal political intractability. These factors however do not represent every facet of life in Pakistan." Chris Menist

Read a Quietus feature on Finders Keepers here

32. Grandaddy - The Sophtware Slump

"Grandaddy's The Sophtware Slump remains one of the finest musical explorations in recent times of our insecurities over technology and the environment. And its elegant music and vivid lyricism made for an unromanticised evocation of the American pastoral. Of course, in the eleven years since its release, we've become all-too accustomed to Americans with beards and threads of plaid evoking and eulogising that countries' vast open spaces, and humanity's place within. But unlike Fleet Foxes and their ilk, Grandaddy never fell into the trap of assuming that such things could only be explored by backward-looking rootsy traditionals." Luke Turner

Read the Quietus review of Sophtware Slump here

31. Pentagram – Be Forwarned

"Be Forewarned is an incredible piece of history that should never be forgotten as it was a relevant stab at a second chance in the spotlight for the original Death Row line up to shine above all others in the fledgling Doom Metal genre... This album only gets heavier with each listen!" Joe Hasselvander

30. The Units – Connections

"I love the idea of remixes. It’s a very punk idea to me. I love the idea of reconfiguring art and technology and taking it to places that it wasn’t intended to go. Like Sid Vicious covering Frank Sinatra’s 'My Way'. It can be very funny and ironic. Like graffiti, but in a musical way. It opens your eyes to concepts you take for granted and it makes you re-think why it is you like things in a particular way. I love the way Tom Ellard from the Severed Heads takes TV commercials and “remixes” them in funny ways. It seems like remixes are usually reserved for disco or dance songs. I don’t really consider The Units disco artists, but I love it when people remix Units songs for the dance floor. I also like hearing ideas that I hadn’t thought of or was incapable of doing well myself."

Read the Quietus interview with Scott Ryser here

29. Jane Weaver - The Watchbird Alluminate

"The new record is like a 'Chinese Whispers' version of my last album The Fallen By Watchbird. On the initial record I worked with primarily female musicians who I knew - it was a slow process that spanned two years and I had strong visualisations as to what the songs looked like. I eventually pieced it together and it became a story each song being an event or a chapter. In the tradition of folk tales and fairy tales, I wanted to keep the story of The Fallen By Watchbird alive. I love the idea of hand-me-down stories getting lost in translation, especially in cinema and badly translated televison. Firstly some friends interpreted the story and turned it into an animation, I'm currently working on releasing the story book version so The Watchbird Alluminate is just another step to see how other people would interpret each scene." Jane Weaver

Read a Quietus feature on Jane Weaver here

28. ÂME - A Mix For FACT

"Âme have been in our lives since 2003, and have proven to be among the most quietly influential dance music producers of their generation, their early work heralding, and even inspiring, a whole new wave of artists refashioning and recombining Detroit techno and deep house tropes according to cutting edge production techniques." FACT magazine bio

Listen to a stream of ÂME's mix here

27. Various Artists – Twenty Fucking Years Of Planet E: We Ain’t Dead

"What advice would I give to someone trying to start an independent record label in the 21st Century? Start a Sound Cloud account... Ha ha ha!" Carl Craig

Read the Quietus feature on Planet E here

26. Oneida - The Ocropolis Live at ATP via NPR

"One of the best bits of this I'll Be Your Mirror was Oneida's Ocropolis jam in the bowling lanes, which took place over eight hours on Saturday afternoon. Their infamous Brooklyn studio is now being demolished to make way for more flats for fixie bike riders and graphic designers to live in, which is of course a crying shame for heavy psychedelic avant-rock. They'd brought one of the Ocropolis carpets along to give off true must & vibes, but it was the stamina of the various Oneida gents and guests including Geoff Barrow on drums that kept us captivated for much of the day. All hail Oneida. All hail Kid Millions, a drumming machine among men." Luke Turner

Listen to Oneida's seven hour set on NPR

25. Serge Gainsbourg Histoire De Melody Nelson

"The bonus track 'Melody lit Babar' included with this reissue, throws up all sorts of alternative possibilities of what might have been. It feels like an appendage, an oddity, out of kilter with the rest of the record; a dirty uncle the family don't like to talk about. It's strange to think what an additional minute and two seconds might have done to a concept album that is already subversive and pushing the boundaries of decency. If listeners were ready to accept Jane Birkin as underage innocent, then this homage apparently to a toy belonging to Charlotte Gainsbourg, would have been too murky and tasteless in the context of the record." Jeremy Allen

Read the Quietus review of Histoire De Melody Nelson here

24. Can - Tago Mago

"In his seminal work on Kosmische, Krautrocksampler, Julian Cope writes that Can's Tago Mago "sounds only like itself, like no-one before or after". 40 years on from the album's initial release, it's an observation that still holds true. There have been many bands who have attempted to recreate the heady, woozy, dark whirl of rhythms invoked on Tago Mago – from Public Image Limited to The Horrors – yet none of them have ever managed to truly capture the combination of the sinister and the sublime that have made it such a modern classic." Cay McDermott

Read the Quietus review of Tago Mago here

23. Various Artists – Invasion Of The Mysteron Killer Sounds

"Friend of The Quietus and bass cone shredder, Mr Kevin Martin aka The Bug and Stuart Baker, the owner of one of the world's best reissue labels, Soul Jazz have laid down some electronic super dub science in 3-D. And as if these awesome comps which have been testing the structural integrity of Quietus Towers recently weren't enough on their own, there's a free graphic novel. BOOM!" John Doran

Read the Quietus interview with Kevin Martin here

22. Dinosaur L - 24>24 Music

"The musicians improvised around scores in order to create a continuous, evolving groove, while taking their cues from Arthur Russell as he sawed away on the cello... The result combined frenzied percussion, a raucous guitar, excited drums and a plummeting trombone, and resembled a cross between Osibisa, the Clash and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band." Tim Lawrence

Read an excerpt from Tim Lawrence's Arthur Russell book Hold On To Your Dreams here

21. Swans - Live at ATP via NPR

"Swans are the greatest rock band on this planet." Luke Turner

Listen to Swans ATP set on NPR here

20. Desert Island Dicks/Where Woodwose Walk – Clearance Sale

"Desert Island Dicks and Where Woodwose Walk team up to reflect on the ongoing global financial crisis that started in the late 2000s. Across ten tracks (including one collaboration) named after British retail chains that went into administration following the crisis, the two groups use noise, drones, field recordings, sampling and live instrumentation to explore connections between the current malaise and the Great Depression of the 1930s. Train sounds, Cisco Houston, news reports, Woolworths, Zavvi, 'Buddy, Can You Spare A Dime?', corporate malfeasance and T.S. Eliot all come together for the first time in what critics are already calling "Capitalist Realism in a disused arms factory". The two groups have pledged to make an accompanying follow-up album in the event of a double-dip recession." Clearance Sale bio

Download Clearance Sale and name your own price here

19. Mark McGuire - A Young Person's Guide

"A Young Persons Guide To Mark McGuire collects together some of this Emeralds members best works, previously released on a number of limited editions CDr and tape releases over the last 4 years. Although, only 24 years of age McGuire has racked up an impressive canon which most artists twice his age would have problems delivering. With his expert use of loops and layers, as well a superb ear for killer melody hooks, [this] makes AYPGTMM simply an essential collection." Editions Mego bio

Read the Quietus feature on Mark McGuire here

18. Suede - Dog Man Star

"Dog Man Star [was] just such a perfectly made and sequenced album, even if Suede casually spunked away 'Killing Of A Flashboy' and 'The Living Dead' (two of the best songs they ever wrote) on b-sides. Aesthetically it was perfect too - flicking through the booklet now I remember how the photograph of a topless woman in a cycle helmet raising her arms felt like something radical. In the notes Brett Anderson writes, 'If I could choose to be remembered for just one musical document it would be this.' Wise words: Dog Man Star is not only Suede's greatest work, it's also one of the best British albums of the 90s, and possibly beyond." Luke Turner

Read the Quietus review of Dog Man Star here

17. UFOmammut – Snailking

"UFOmammut is worldwide recognized as the creator of a unique brand of psychedelic sludge. With long songs, droning vocals and massive effects the band combines a monumental riffing attitude with the psychedelia of the more visionary Pink Floyd. Since the beginning, UFOmammut has always been in search of its own sonic way: developing from a primordial acid album like Godlike Snake, the band focused on a more mature and evil sound with the second album Snailking." UFOmammut bio

16. Autechre - EPs 1991 – 2002

"There's an in-joke at Warp's graphic affiliates The Designer's Republic. Apparently they always say that Autechre have claimed that the next album is going to be much more hip-hop orientated. The influence of this genre can be heard faintly across this compilation and with most clarity on 'Goz Quarter' from 1997's Envane EP, with its clipped and sterile electro break providing a rigid framework for a distant maelstrom of effects scratched in on turntables and a sinister sample from the Dr Octagon track 'No Awareness'. But really the presence of (old school) hip-hop and electro is felt in the pair's real time manipulation of beats and loops in the way that they create a certain manufactured sloppiness, a willfulness, a berserkness, a rawness that dissociates them from most other techno or electronica producers. And that's something that still holds true now more than ever. Contrasted to the conservative times we live in, some of this music sounds even more shocking now than it did when it came out." John Doran

15. John Fahey – Your Past Comes Back To Haunt You: The Fonotone Years

"The final disc of recordings, spanning the 1962-65 period, reveals Fahey finally stepping out of the shadow cast by his influences. ‘The Portland Cement Factory At Monolith, California’, which is analogous to another great stepping stone piece, ‘Night Train To Valhalla’, reveals a man finally coming into his own as a composer, abandoning the traditional blues in favour of a symphonic approach of greater tonal complexity. The first of Fahey’s veena experiments, ‘How Long’, is here but you could be forgiven for not even realising that you had just been listening to the smaller, earlier relative of the sitar instead of a guitar. But by the time it reappears on the inappropriately named ‘Western Medley’, backwards dubbed and reverberating, you can sense Fahey not just straining at the leash but snapping it entirely, ready to incorporate the lessons learned from everything including classical orchestral to gamelan into his ever-burgeoning style." John Doran

Read the Quietus review of Your Past Comes Back To Haunt You here

14. AR – Wolf Notes

"The prolific Richard Skelton is one of the most compelling artists working in the UK today, blending folk and electronic music in explorations both of the landscape of these isles, and the fragility of our human selves within it. He originally took to the moors of Northern England armed with tape recorders and simple instrumentation as a way of coming to terms with the untimely death of his partner. Since then, the Type label and Skelton himself have put together umpteen lovingly-produced, atmospheric releases. Wolf Notes originally came out in 2010, before this reissue on 12” vinyl. A collaboration with vocalist Autumn Richardson, Wolf Notes is an album of drones and vocal textures inspired by the landscape of Ulpha, Cumbria, the name of which is thought to have once meant 'hill visited by wolves'." Luke Turner

13. Drexciya - Journey Of The Deep Sea Dweller

"In a year where everyone from Laurel Halo and Oneohtrix Point Never to Space Dimension Controller and Blawan displayed audible influence from early Detroit techno, the reissue of early material from that city's seminal electro duo Drexciya could scarcely be more appropriate. Most of the material on Journey Of The Deep Sea Dweller had been available on long out-of-print early compilation The Quest, but it's hugely welcome to find it available again on vinyl at an affordable price. Even at this early stage in their musical development, the duo - Gerald Donald, now of Dopplereffekt, and the late James Stinson - had honed a singular sonic and conceptual aesthetic. The jabbing of drum machines and liquid synth melodies here perfectly complement the concept behind their music - Drexciya as an underwater society, populated by descendants of black slaves thrown aboard during the early Atlantic crossings." Rory Gibb

12. K-S.H.E (Terre Thaemlitz) - Routes Not Roots

"Thaemlitz's work spans art and academia, melding both as a means of exploring themes of identity and commerce. Her long player Routes Not Roots, under the alias Kami-Sakunobe House Explosion, was reissued earlier this year. A gorgeous, strung out and subtly transgressive 70 minutes of house music, it explored the shifting promises of early house music and the politics of race, sexuality and gender... As well as producing and DJing, Thaemlitz regularly lectures and writes on these issues, and in depth on issues of queerness and transgenderism." Quietus news story

Read Terre Thaemlitz's writing here

11. Various Artists – Hessle Audio 116 And Rising

"We started the label when me and Kev were in our final year of university and Dave was in his first. Me and Kev moved away from Leeds and Dave stayed up there. So it's always been, you know, get together when we can, talk about things when we can. A lot of it's been through email. It doesn't feel more fragmented than it did at the beginning. The one thing that seems to have changed it that it's a lot less easy to make considered decisions now. It's been really good having the three of us, because we've avoided some mistakes - there were tunes would could have put out that one person wasn't feeling, and it's almost always been the right call." Ben UFO

Read the Quietus Hessle Audio feature here

10. Demdike Stare – Triptych

"Probably the best way to describe [Demdike Stare's sound] is that the main rule we have when buying records is that we don't stand still. We're not allowed to dwell for too long on, or get too far into, one thing. We have to keep moving because it keeps it fresh, it keeps us enthusiastic - and I think it's exactly the same with producing music. We don't want to step backwards or stay in the same place. This year, now, we just want to go somewhere completely different." Miles Whittaker

Read the Quietus Demdike Stare feature here

9. Cloaks - Versions Grain

"Everything musically is post-dubstep: Britney Spears, rock music, indie bands, drum & bass, everything. It was such a fucking huge thing to music, especially in a time when the whole music industry was supposedly fucked there was this whole scene that was making lots of money. It's essentially drum & bass all over again except with the internet to back it up so it just got huge really fucking quickly. Anybody that's making slightly angry music, whether its guitar or electronic, because we're in a post-dubstep world it is going to have to include a certain amount of it. That sounds a bit ridiculous, but maybe it's not a coincidence, all these people are not listening to each other." Steve Harris

Read the Quietus Cloaks feature here

8. The Black Dog - Liber Chaos

"The first Perc remix 12” and The Black Dog's Liber Chaos share the same mood and many of the same names. Someone recently described to me the experience of seeing Sandwell District play live as "two hours of tunnel vision techno", and it's harder to come up with a better descriptor than that. Their remix is the highlight of Liber Chaos, all the light squeezed out and replaced by an omnipresent volcanic rumble. Pay close enough attention and its apparently featureless surfaces focus into sharper resolution; they're actually exquisitely detailed, rough like fine-grained sandpaper and just as subtly abrasive." Rory Gibb

Read the Quietus review of Liber Chaos here

7. The Fall – This Nation’s Saving Grace Omnibus Edition

"Damo Suzuki and Can had a really big effect on me when I was younger. I met him in about 1989. He was a car salesman for Mitsubishi in Germany. He was telling me about the troubles he'd had over that decade but by then he'd 'reformed' himself. He thought the song ['I Am Damo Suzuki'] was great but I think it was the group in general he liked." Mark E Smith

Read the Quietus feature on This Nation's Saving Grace here

6. Chris Watson - El Tren Fantasma

"There's the great myth that nature is silent. Throughout, we hear the sound of wind in trees and grass, birds calls, weather. The Ghost Train is an interloper, human but unnatural, a giant metallic other clanking through the landscape. In fact, nature often sounds just as (if not more) menacing than the machinery and ephemera of the railway. 'Crucero La Joya' is a case in point, flies buzz, a rattle comes and goes. The affect is startling, even sci-fi apocalyptic. Penultimate track 'El Tajin' begins with a cacophony of animal and insect sounds, oppressive and seemingly recorded at night. Without the certainty of the train, all this undefinable noise leads our minds into fear of the unknown. Watson is recording the landscape before it was tamed by the demystifying, 'civilising' influence of our technology." Luke Turner

Read the Quietus review of El Tren Fantasma here

5. Chris and Cosey – A Mix For The Quietus

"None of us went on to do anything remotely industrial. We'd burned ourselves out of it and we didn't want it to sound like TG. We were going along with the flow, like we always do. It was exciting times for producing music electronically. We had no formal musical training, so it was an experiment, to see if we could come up with some songs and make it sound like we knew what we were doing." Chris Carter

Listen to Chris and Cosey's Quietus mix here

4. King Midas Sound – Without You

"Such is the sleight of hand at work here: at least one part curatorial genius for every two parts creative. No artist fully escapes the Midas touch: Flying Lotus reigns in his more expansive cosmic tendencies in a surreptitiously funky rework of ‘Lost’. Mala’s offering - probably the most recognisably ‘of’ its parent artist - is pumped full of noxious gas, his usually clean subbass clogged with dissonance. Ras G’s version of ‘Cool Out’ verges on being shockingly abrasive without losing its sense of mischief, slathered with the usual airhorns and ‘Oh Ras!’ proclamations, while Deepchord’s rework of ‘Goodbye Girl’ (as if they needed an excuse) propels the original to the very outer reaches of the dub stratum, til we’re practically spinning off its surface into oblivion. Rob Lowe’s modus operandi as Lichens may be similarly resonant with the Midas aesthetic, but his remix of the same track pulls it the other way, locking it into pure, alienated paralysis. In its muted, greyscale purgatory, Robinson and Hitomi’s vocals seem utterly drained of vitality, circled from above, vulture-like, by Lowe’s wordless falsetto." Angus Finlayson

Read the Quietus review of Without You here

3. Ben UFO - Rinse 16

"While a Ben UFO set goes further down the techno rabbithole than most of his contemporaries, even the likes of Jackmaster or Appleblim, he's still clearly got a weather-eye on the most interesting nooks of development in British club music. For example, you might expect his taste in UK funky to veer towards the type unlikely to ever bother the charts – the stuff that glommed on to what the genre's originators blueprinted around 2007 – and you'd be partly right, thanks to inclusions like 'Dunkel Jam' by Elgato, who released a single on Hessle last year. However, you'd also have to ignore 'Sensitivity', a 2011 tune by Champion awash with pinball drum dizziness and the lush vox of Ruby Lee Ryder, which has been one of the most hotly discussed funky tracks of late." Noel Gardner

Read the Quietus review of Rinse 16 here

2. SunnO))) and Nurse With Wound – The Iron Soul Of Nothing

"In 2007 we commissioned Nurse With Wound to re-work the masters of SunnO)))'s second album ØØVOID to be included as a bonus CD on the Japanese reissue of said album released a year later on Daymare Recordings. We dug up the original 2" reels from the 2000 session, had Mell Dettmer bake the tapes, made the multi-track transfers and sent the drive over to IC studios. The initial brief was to hopefully come up with something in the vein of Nurse's legendary Soliloquoy For Lilith set (my favourite release of the collective). What was returned was way beyond our expectations, completely transformed and rediscovered material, including highlighting formerly obscured vocals of the legendary Pete Stahl (Scream, Wool, Goatsnake). A vast, creepy sonic journey some part drone/depth of Sunn O))), other part concrete weirdness of Nurse, third part just downright out there in surreality and obscure referencing." Stephen O'Malley

1. Throbbing Gristle – Heathen Earth

"But it was to be their last album and they started as they began, flying by the seat of their combat pants, doing everything to throw obstacles in their own path, asking associate Stan Bingo to record the event and act as sound engineer, precisely because he’d never done it before and didn’t know what he was doing. But their gamble paid off and it remains a brilliantly weird album. They went out demanding nothing other than 100% clarity of vision from their fans. As P-Orridge intones: “You should always aim to be as skilful as the most professional of the government agencies. The way you live, structure, conceive and market what you do should be as well thought out as a government coup. It’s a campaign. It has nothing to do with art.” (This reissue contains the best of the extra discs, containing a number of rare live tracks such as ‘Auschwitz’ and ‘Devil’s Gateway’ as well as the single tracks ‘Subhuman’ and ‘Adrenalin’.)" John Doran

Read the Quietus review of Heathen Earth here

Full list of Reissues/Mixes/Compilations/Live Albums

1 Throbbing Gristle – Heathen Earth
2 SunnO))) and Nurse With Wound – The Iron Soul Of Nothing
3 Ben UFO - Rinse 016
4 King Midas Sound – Without You
5 Chris and Cosey – A Mix For The Quietus
6 Chris Watson - El Tren Fantasma
7 The Fall – This Nation’s Saving Grace Omnibus Edition
8 The Black Dog - Liber Chaos
9 Cloaks - Versions Grain
10 Demdike Stare – Triptych
11 Various Artists – Hessle Audio 116 And Rising
12 K-S.H.E (Terre Thaemlitz) - Routes Not Roots
13 Drexciya - Journey Of The Deep Sea Dweller
14 AR - Wolf Notes
15 John Fahey – Your Past Comes Back To Haunt You: The Fonotone Years
16 Autechre - EPs 1991 – 2002
17 UFOmammut – Snailking
18 Suede - Dog Man Star reissue
19 Mark McGuire - A Young Person's Guide
20 Desert Island Dicks/Where Woodwose Walk – Clearance Sale
21 Swans - Live at ATP via NPR
22 Dinosaur L - 24>24 Music
23 Various Artists – Invasion Of The Mysteron Killer Sounds
24 Can - Tago Mago
25 Mark McGuire - A Young Person's Guide
26 Oneida - The Ocropolis Live at ATP via NPR
27 Various Artists – Twenty Fucking Years Of Planet E: We Ain't Dead
28 AME - A Mix For FACT
29 Jane Weaver - The Watchbird Alluminate
30 The Units – Connections
31 Pentagram – Be Forwarned
32 Grandaddy - The Sophtware Slump
33 Various Artists – Life Is Dance
34 Gary Numan - Dead Son Rising
35 Various Artists - Sofrito
36 Opika Pende – Africa At 78 RPM
37 Various Artists - Disco Discharge: Disco Fever USA
38 Lucy - A Mix for Resident Advisor
39 Tandy Love - Turk Jerk
40 Various Artists - Bangs & Works Vol 2
41 Orchestre Poly Rhythmo de Cotonou - The First Album
42 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Let Love In
43 Various Artists - Cartagena
44 LFO – Frequencies
45 The Juan Maclean – Everybody Get Close
46 Leonard Cohen - Box Set
47 The Kelly Twins - A Mix For Bass Music Blog
48 Paul McCartney - McCartney II
49 Queen – News Of The World
50 Mercury Rev - Deserter's Songs

Alan
Dec 19, 2011 11:39pm

WhAt A lIsT! TrUlY iNsPiRiNg!

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Dec 20, 2011 10:40am

No Cabs Johnny Yes No?

Frankly the re-issues & remasters this year have been of more interest than the new releases.

Hope 2012 is more inspiring.

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Gman
Dec 20, 2011 3:49pm

Er, I think you forgot Disco Inferno's 5 Eps. Oops.

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steve57
Dec 21, 2011 1:08pm

'Ben UFO'? UFOmammut? and no mention the of the actual proper UFO who had Strangers In The Night reissued on vinyl this year? For shame.

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