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Captain! She Rises! Best Reissues, Compilations & Mixes Of 2013 So Far
John Doran , July 29th, 2013 05:41

Rory Gibb and John Doran sift through their favourite anthologies, DJ mixes, live albums and other non-studio album curiosities. With thanks to Laurie Tuffrey and Luke Turner

This is meant as a companion piece to the recent albums of the year so far feature and the writers' tracks of the year so far. This is my favourite of the charts - not just because people are much less likely to be unpleasant in the comments section after it - but because it gives a fuller picture of what the website's about, bringing in more African and Middle Eastern music, more dance music in a preferable (for me) context - i.e. in a mix - not to mention all kinds of glorious stuff that I'd probably been completely oblivious to a year or so earlier, like electro chaabi, Yugoslavian gypsy folk and Syrian field recordings.

We also get chance to say thanks to labels like Soul Jazz, Honest Jon's, Sublime Frequencies, Soundway, Sham Palace, Strut, Latitudes, Rinse, Dust To Digital etc; not to mention fellow publications like FACT and RA, for introducing us to such fine music. Ironically, since discovering Mississippi Records earlier this year I've spanked a load of cash on their wares but it turns out they were all released last year.

Regarding stuff that's come out more recently I've been raving about the Kenya Special comp to anyone who will listen all year, not to mention playing it at home non-stop. If you don't have a copy, please go out and get one. You'll almost certainly thank me.

However it isn't just Miles Cleret, Johan Fredrik Lavik and Rickard Masip, the Soundway compilers, that I want to single out in this introduction but also Mike Gergis. This American with Iraqi heritage is a record collector who has been working with the label Sublime Frequencies for the last decade, since it was founded in 2003. He's been part of the team responsible for bringing us so much "street-level hybrid folk-pop - people's music - from the countries that we had spent time in" - as he puts it himself. They are responsible for records that pose the following very simple question: why has this great music never been released (in the West) before?

We're all big fans of Omar Souleyman at the Quietus but like many of you this initial interest has led to us wanting to hear more and varied forms of dabke - the high charged, weirdly rave analogous, keyboard driven wedding music that he plays. And what could be a better way to discover more about it than the Gergis compiled Dabke: Sounds of the Syrian Houran? (While this is a rhetorical question - if you do know of better ways of learning about dabke, or in fact you want to talk about your own favourite compilations, mixes and reissues of the year so far please use the comment feature below.)

But also at number 12 is a late entry into the chart - I only bought it from Boomkat about two hours before finalising the list - which is Gergis' I Remember Syria, an amazing compilation of field recordings taking in Syrian radio, street performers, crowded markets, building sites, television shows, interviews, random conversations in shops and on street corners and lots and lots of music. This wonderful download/double disc compilation is quite obviously a labour of love and all of the profits are going to Syrian humanitarian aid.

Still on an Arabic MENA tip, I had to include the Cairo Liberation Front (aka our friends in Tiburg, Netherlands, Joost and Yannick) and their excellent Electro Chaabi For Avant Garde Lovers mix tape which they compiled for this site - partially because of the amazing trip to Cairo and El Salam City I had earlier this year to meet musicians and explore this new scene, but also because it's a banging listen.

We mainly privilege stuff that's new to us in this list. This stops us from listing the massive catalogue reissue programmes of big labels; but this is only true to a certain extent. For example, it would be a world gone topsy turvy if we decided to leave the new Scott Walker box set out. It would suggest a world with no rhyme and less reason.

Also, I feel inclined to point out that this list contains Bolt Thrower. And if you've never heard Bolt Thrower before and you're about to listen to some for the first time... I'm genuinely jealous of you. You lucky bastards.

It's dead easy to rip the piss out of the Quietus. It must be, given the number of people who do it. And I realise there will be lots of people laughing at us for what they perceive as wilful obscurantism, hipsterism, perversity and, in some cases, being too obvious. However we're just dead made up to be able to report on really great music, whether that's from Bristol or Nairobi, whether it's made on samplers or guitars, whether it's street level or concert hall. Whether looking inward or outward, forward or back, our feeling is we've never had it so good.

(Also, I know what you're all saying. "OMG! Where's the Ramesses compilation?!" This chart only covers January to June. So don't fear, we haven't forgotten about Misanthropic Alchemy. As if we would.)

John Doran

40. Rodion G.A. - The Lost Tapes
(Strut)

"This is some of the raddest music you’re likely to hear this year. Rad in its overall excellentness and radical as to its forward-thinking nature, sounding so even today, though recorded at the height of Ceausescu’s suppression and censorship." Aug Stone

Read our review here

39. V/A - Stand Up People: Gypsy Pop Songs From Tito’s Yugoslavia 1964 - 1980
(Asphalt Tango)

Click here to listen and buy this album on eMusic

38. Powell - FACT Mix 390
(FACT Mix)

"Oscar Powell's released some exceptional music this year, both on his deliciously cheeky, drily funky untitled 12" for Death Of Rave and the mindfuck devolved drum & bass piledriving of the recent Fizz EP. In keeping with the ramshackle, roughly-bolted-together feel of his music - and the way he gleefully chucks stylistic reference points into the melting pot like my unhinged secondary school chemistry teacher who always wore a utility tool belt - it's unsurprising that his DJ sets purposefully eschew anything so straightforward as a common pulse. Instead they rebound all over the shop, held together by certain similarities of attitude and a skin-of-the-teeth, 'just fucking chuck it in and see what happens' mindset. This set for FACT is a typically wide arching affair: splattery techno and Suicide, Factory Floor and Russell Haswell next to EVOL, Rapeman and Goat, a dazzling new track from Vessel at the mix's end and a bonkers Bohannon re-edit from Shit & Shine. Prepare to have your mind syringed." Rory Gibb

Listen to the mix here

37. The Cleaners From Venus - S/T Box Set Vol. 2
(Captured Tracks)

"Why weren’t these chart-topping hits in the 80s? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that they were home recordings only ever released on self-distributed cassettes. Or because Martin Newell never bothered to approach record companies or the mainstream music press. Or that the ones these somehow reached didn’t think the public was ready for this winning combination of high quality songwriting and lo-fi production. But the songs are all here, waiting to be discovered. And for Newell it’s all about the songs." Aug Stone

Read our review here

Click here to listen and buy this album on eMusic

36. Pearson Sound - RA.361 Podcast
(Resident Advisor)

"Forsaking the more clearly defined, build/drop arcs of his Fabriclive mix from 2011 - which was still very much rooted in the dubstep/grime 'mix for impact' approach - it's striking in that it simply rolls outwards for 70-odd minutes, atop a bed of bumpy, garage-y kicks and subs. Kennedy keeps tracks in the mix for long periods of time, papering over the joins and allowing the momentum of one to transfer seamlessly into the next." Rory Gibb

35. V/A - Mirror To The Soul
(Soul Jazz)

"Mirror To The Soul is, primarily, a documentary film released on DVD recently by Soul Jazz records, but is included in this chart because it comes with a superb grab bag compilation of Caribbean music and because it's really worth watching. The film is made up entirely of footage taken from the archive of British Pathe newsreels collected between 1920 and 1972 from the West Indies and from West Indian communities in the Americas and the UK. The first CD of music is an overview of Caribbean music - no mean feat, but one that's admirably well executed, including as it does mambo, calypso, funk, reggae, Latin jazz and even some smoking Cuban psych rock played by a heavyweight jazz ensemble in the form of Irakere's 'Bacalao Con Pan'. As always with a Soul Jazz joint, it contains a satisfying mix of standards, rarities and out-and-out oddness. The focus is tightened in some respects on the second disc, and the 15 tracks both released and unreleased are culled from the label's own 15 year history of recording traditional Afro Caribbean music." John Doran

34. Steffi - Panoramabar 05
(Ostgut Ton)

"I've always been partial to the notion that Ostgut Ton's Berghain and Panoramabar mix CD series offer some aural approximation of the sensations of spending time in that iconic club space; as though by listening you're dropped right into the middle of a peak-time Berlin dancefloor. Steffi's Panoramabar deep house mix, however, opens in a manner so beatific and patient that it feels more of a sunny afternoon dancing on the grass - melodies that meander lazily like bumblebees from flower to flower, springy bass, curtains of synth draped artfully across the music's sharper curves. Just forty-five minutes later you're soaked in other peoples' drug sweat, you've lost your wallet and someone just accidentally dropped an ice cold glass of water down your back as you bent down to pick up your dropped earplug." Rory Gibb

33. Imaginary Forces - Psychedelic Entropy (Quietus Mix)

"At first I thought that the sound that I have ended up making was a reaction to the highly polished D&B techniques that lost my interest in that scene, but over time I realised that it was not that at all. In fact the sound I have now has developed naturally over time by way of the processes I use and the sounds that I naturally enjoy listening to. However, I have recently come to the conclusion that a lot of what I am doing is not only influenced by the electronic masters such as Xenakis, Parmegiani, et al, and contemporaries like Kenneth Kirschner and Pan Sonic, but a huge part of it is from my early hardcore days." Imaginary Forces

Read our feature and listen to Imaginary Forces' mix here

32. V/A - Terror Danjah Presents Hardwired
(Hardrive)

"[Elijah from Butterz] just turned around and said 'I want to start a label. What do I do? Where do I go? And I want [the first release] to be one of yours'. I was laughing, like, 'You want to put out vinyl in this day and age? Are you mad? What's this crazy idea?' But you know what, if you wanna do it, I'll back it. And then here we are, from the dances at Cable, to playing around the world, and people starting to accept grime as a serious genre again. It was almost like a swearword if you said grime a few years ago, it was embarrassing. Now you can say grime and everyone gets excited." Terror Danjah

Read Terror Danjah's Bakers Dozen here

31. Ennio Morricone - Morricone In Colour box set
(Bella Casa)

"This box set on Chery Red covers the (long) '70s, when mainstream cinema music collided head on with the avant garde, with main focus being trained on the years 1969 – 1972. And nowhere is this more evident than on the two Dario Argento OSTs included here, L’Uccello Dalle Plume Di Cristallo (The Bird With The Crystal Plumage) and Quattro Mosche Di Velluto Grigio (Four Flies On Grey Velvet). The use of then-obscure left field music was almost a way of 'sneaking’ more horror past the censors. Sure, we may see the glint of a knife blade on a stair case, exposed cream skin, thick technicolour blood and pearl white teeth bared in agony, but it is in the slow, dissonant scrape of violin strings, the violently off kilter percussion and non-tonal vocal performances, that we really feel the viscera being exposed and the real psychological carnage being unleashed." John Doran

Read our review here

30. V/A - Keysound: This Is How We Roll
(Keysound)

"The label's new compilation This Is How We Roll opens with a tripartite track, 'New Wave' from Wen, Beneath and Visionist. Its decree – "the new wave coming through" – isn't without arrogance, but nuance is hardly the point here. And there's no denying the track itself is tough as fuck, with kickdrum after kickdrum after exquisitely gated kickdrum like jackboots to the solar plexus. This isn't quite grime (though it isn't quite not-grime either), but its urgency is there in the high-octane strings, frosted synths and filthy sub-weight. This is grime for the Ableton age, the production far more refined than ten years ago – though of course, much of that naïve rawness was central to earlier grime's appeal." Maya Kalev

Read our review here

Click here to listen and buy this album on eMusic

29. Chelsea Wolfe - Prayer For The Unborn
(Latitudes)

"I had this character of a housemate for a while who would camp out in the living room playing records for days. Nothing usually caught my ear, but one day I was walking through and heard Rudimentary Peni and it stopped me in my tracks - I listened and was so drawn to the energy behind that voice. The roommate told me about the band as they were one of his favorites - even his cat was named Blinky, after Nick Blinko. I couldn't find a lot of their music online but I found lyrics and read all of them. I was haunted by Rudimentary Peni for days, weeks, until I finally was possessed fully one night and sat down to record five sort of covers of their songs, just based on the lyrics. They're interpretations really, more than covers, since they don't sound like the original songs and I hadn't heard all of the songs I covered at the time." Chelsea Wolfe

Click here to read our interview with Chelsea Wolfe

28. Kode9 - Rinse.22
(Rinse)

"You feel that? A disturbance in the bass-time continuum. Maybe it went unnoticed because it's something so old, so true, so certain, that we've come to take it as a given. The sun will rise tomorrow. Capitalism will prevail. The establishment will remain established. You will always be broke. The clock in the kitchen will make you miss your morning train even though you know it's four minutes slow and yet you still can't be fucked to get up on the counter to adjust the thing. Shit will happen, because it always has and always will. And just like all these inevitabilities, there will always be a unified dance scene to get behind - something we can all latch on to and agree upon." Charlie Frame

Read our review here

27. Melvins - Everybody Loves Sausages
(Ipecac)

"As you might expect from a band who have had few missteps in a near 30 year career there is something uniquely 'Melvins' about Everybody Loves Sausages; from a song selection that moves from the obvious to the obscure, to the fact that you don't just get one side of the band, but multiple – shifting as they do through the percussive barrage of 'Warhead' and the odd-groove blues of 'Female Trouble', all the way to Jello Biafra doing his best Vincent Price impression throughout 'In Every Dream Home A Heartache' (which is undoubtedly the best Roxy Music cover I've ever heard)… I still don't get how they managed to cover Throbbing Gristle though; my world doesn't make sense anymore." Toby Cook

Read our review here

Click here to listen and buy this album on eMusic

26. V/A - Eglo Records Vol. 1
(Eglo)

"Alexander Nut and Floating Points' Eglo label has been a consistent bright spot in London's musical output these last few years, not least because of Floating Points' own work, which draws together strands from house, boogie, soul and jazz into astonishing and sumptuous club music - 'Vacuum Boogie', included here, is one of the greatest British house tracks of the last decade. But in case you hadn't been playing close enough attention, this compilation shows off further riches found deeper in the label's catalogue. The fizzing, gauzy grime acrobatics of Mizz Beats, Funkineven's splattery acid-frazzled boogie, neo-soul, house and funk from vocalist Fatima, and Arp101's colour-saturated hip-hop are among the highlights, but it's of uniform quality throughout." Rory Gibb

25. Godflesh - Godflesh, Selfless, Us And Them box set
(Earache)

"Godflesh is obviously seen as an innovator to the industrial metal scene, but I just saw Godflesh as making a sort of minimalist, extreme form of rock or metal. But I was completely influenced by TG, SPK, Test Dept. and Whitehouse - all that early, loosely-speaking industrial music. For me, industrial became associated with some fairly odd things in the 90s and I wanted to distance myself from the very smooth-sounding electronic body music, which I wasn’t interested in. I’m fairly purist about what I consider industrial music, I guess, and the impact it had upon me was to sort of abuse it." Justin Broadrick

Read our interview with Justin Broadrick here

Click here to listen and buy this album on eMusic

24. V/A - Interpretations On F.C. Judd
(Public Information)

"For Public Information's tenth release, the label taps into the new-old duality at the heart of its aesthetic, reaching an apex of sorts. Interpretations On F.C. Judd features twelve contemporary electronic musicians' studies on Fred Judd's vast archive of lectures, tones, field recordings, rhythms, tape loops and mistakes. Some of the contributors are to be expected: Leyland Kirby, who as both V/Vm and The Caretaker deconstructs and resculpts archaic music into strange new shapes, seems a natural fit for the project, as do library music enthusiasts Ian Helliwell, Nick Edwards (Ekoplekz) and Chris Carter, who used to devour the Judd-edited Practical Electronics And Amateur Tape Recorder magazines in the 60s. Perhaps less predictably, Interpretations also includes contributions from Perc and Bandshell, better known for dread dancefloor music, and Karen Gwyer, whose sticky-warm burbling techno seems the polar opposite of Fred Judd's functional excursions in sound." Maya Kalev

Read our feature on F.C. Judd here

23. V/A - Celluloid: Change The Beat - The Celluloid Records Story 1979 – 1987
(Strut)

"Naming the first ever hip hop song recorded is an idiot’s quest if ever there was one, but if you want to hear something that was probably as important an influence on the development of the N.W.A. aesthetic as Iceberg Slim paperbacks and Blowfly routines, then check out Lightnin’ Rod’s 'Sport’ (originally from the excellent 1973 album Hustler’s Convention). Lightnin’ Rod was basically a pre-spiritual awakening Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin of The Last Poets rapping proto-gangsta rhymes over music provided by the likes of Tina Turner and the Ikettes and Billy Preston, some 14 years before Dre, Cube et al hit the studio. This track, backed by an instantly recognisable Kool And The Gang, deals with the protagonist's formative years: 'I had learned to shoot pool/ Playing hooky from school/ At the tender age of nine/ And by the time I was eleven/ I could pad-roll seven/ And down me a whole quart of wine./ I was makin' it a point/ To smoke me a joint/ At least once during the course of a day/ And I was snortin' skag/ While other kids played tag/ And elders went to church to pray.'" John Doran

Click here to listen and buy this album on eMusic

Read our feature on Celluloid Records here

22. Iannis Xenakis - GRM Works 1957-62
(Recollections GRM)

"Sometimes it's struggle enough to keep on top of what's going on in electronic music at this very moment, let alone attempt to find time for the masses of reissues creeping their way out into the world every month. Nonetheless, Editions Mego's Recollections GRM label is something that all with even a passing interest in electronic sound or modern day experimental music should be investigating, gathering together recordings from the early electronic and musique concrete experimentalists of the Groupe De Recherches Musicales in the 50s and 60s. It's testament to Iannis Xenakis' vision and sheer delight in visceral sonic experience that the alien worlds evoked by the four pieces collected here are more radical-sounding and physically affecting than a great deal of current experimental music." Rory Gibb

21. Scott Walker - Scott Box Set
(UMC/Mercury)

"On ‘Montague Terrace In Blue', beyond the confident, artistic hipster statement of the title, there are the lyrics which go beyond the rawness of a Jacques Brel enthusiast or kitchen sink scribe. These lyrics transport the listener into the realms of the genuinely uncanny: 'The little clock’s stopped ticking now/ we’re swallowed in the stomach room/ The only sound to tear the night/ comes from the man upstairs.' In a sharp bit of existentialist and imagist lyricism, the tenement itself temporarily becomes an unnamed beast devouring its unfortunate inhabitants." John Doran

20. Bolt Thrower - In Battle There Is No Law
(Back On Black)

"It's fairly easy to make the statement that In Battle There Is No Law isn't Birmingham death metal/grindcore pioneers Bolt Thrower's best album. (That honour would - personally speaking - be bestowed on Warmaster, with For Victory and Realm Of Chaos taking silver and bronze respectively.) However, there is something uniquely thrilling about hearing a (presumably still) teenage or early twenty-something band battling valiantly at the absolute outer boundaries of their abilities to produce something truly revolutionary. Oft talked about rhythmical quirks and production values notwithstanding, this is a hellaciously exciting opening skirmish from a forward thinking band who would go on to great things." John Doran

19. V/A - Collision / Detection
(Front & Follow)

18. V/A - Who’s That Man? A Tribute To Conny Plank
(Gronland)

"In some sense, this 4CD box set represents the merest glimpse of a secret history of European pop music; a history to which uber-producer Conny Plank is the key. Plank was a common thread in many of the otherwise disparate recordings of the early 70s German avant-garde quickly lumped together by the UK and US music press as 'krautrock' (a phrase as intentionally dismissive as 'shoegaze' was twenty years later- both descriptions were nevertheless adopted as badges of convenience and worn proudly by champions and revivalists after the fact). His engineering, production and in some cases playing on the seminal early albums by Kraftwerk, Neu!, Cluster, Ash Ra Tempel and Guru Guru among others defines this nebulous genre as much as anything else. As such, he was the man a younger generation of non-German musicians turned to in their efforts to synthesise the magic they heard in those LPs." Ben Graham

Read our review here

Click here to listen and buy this album on eMusic

17. V/A - Acid: Mysterons Invade The Jackin' Zone
(Soul Jazz)

"What with house becoming quite the popular property again on club floors at the moment, both in London and further afield, it seems that now's the time for acid house compilations (I'm sure I've seen two or three new ones announced by various labels over the past few months). Soul Jazz, as ever, have done a better job than most with Acid: Mysterons Invade The Jackin' Zone, bringing together a host of rarer bits with a few certified classics. It's worth it for Risque Rhythm Team's 'The Jackin' Zone' alone, but stay for Mr. Fingers, Phuture, Virgo, Adonis, and... well, the list goes on. Rory Gibb

16. Broadcast - Berberian Sound Studio O.S.T.
(Warp)

"For nearly two decades now, Broadcast have been such a stellar presence and subtle revelation that the prospect of their no longer being around has yet to sink in. More than most, the group worked in their own time and space, a step aside from (and a league above) their co-travellers. So it feels, from this distance, oddly natural to be awaiting their final signals two years after Trish Keenan passed away. The good news is, there's another Broadcast album proper in the pipeline. The other good news is that we have this addition to their occult catalogue of offcuts, b-sides and experiments to tide us over." Lee Arizuno

Read our review here

Click here to listen and buy this album on eMusic

15. Mark Ernestus Presents Jeri Jeri - Ndagga Versions / 800% Ndagga
(Ndagga)

"As well as his work as one half of dub techno pioneers Basic Channel, Berlin's Mark Ernestus is well-known for his productions in conjunction with Jamaican vocalists for Rhythm & Sound, as well as his long-running live performance associations with vocalists like Tikiman. This new project, however, found him turning towards Senegal and recording percussion-based group Jeri-Jeri. The results were released on a series of 12"s and are now brought together on these two complementary compilations, one featuring instrumentals and the other full vocal versions. They're startling in many ways; Ernestus takes a back seat in production, adding only the occasional dubby flourish to the mix, allowing the rhythmic intricacy and virtuosity of the players to shine through. The result is a collection of hypnotic and involving, continually changing grooves played primarily on sabar talking drums, with percussion tightly woven in spiraling patterns that break apart from one another and reconvene again without even breaking a sweat." Rory Gibb

14. V/A - Deutsche Elektronische Musik 2 — Experimental German Rock And Electronic Music 1972-83
(Soul Jazz Records)

13. A Hawk And A Hacksaw - You Have Already Gone To The Other World
(LM Dupli-cation)

Click here to listen and buy this album on eMusic

12. Mark Gergis - I Remember Syria
(Sublime Frequencies)

"Syria doesn’t sound like it did on I Remember Syria anymore, and it doesn’t look like the photographs in the expanded booklet. As you may already know, Syria is suffering in the midst of unthinkable turmoil, attack and destruction. As a wide-scale humanitarian disaster continues to unfold, Syrians both within the country and in refugee camps beyond its borders are in need of immediate assistance [...] I Remember Syria was assembled as an audio love letter to the country I grew to know as one of most civilized places on Earth. [...] Across the span of 14 years, I would travel there as frequently as possible. When initially released on Sublime Frequencies as a double CD in 2004, the aim was to showcase and humanize a land and its people that had been politically and culturally exiled by the west for decades. Hopefully, these recordings can serve again as a testament to the beauty and unity of Syria, and the grace, hospitality and integrity of its people." Mark Gergis

Profits from sales of I Remember Syria go toward humanitarian aid in the country.

11. DJ Sprinkles - Queerification & Ruins
(Collected Remixes)

"Somehow, hearing Terre Thaemlitz's approach to remixing sheds light on the approach that underpins his entire DJ Sprinkles project; each original track is re-shaped through Thaemlitz's very specific perspective on house music, informed by her experiences of the early New York deep house scene and the marginalised communities surrounding it. There's some utterly beautiful and deeply moving material on here - grooves are stretched out to upwards of 11 or 12 minutes and (ahem) sprinkled through with acoustic piano chords, disembodied vocal samples and restless, shuffling percussion, conjuring up phantom club floors that will continue to dance on forever out of earshot." Rory Gibb

10. Cornershop - The Hot For May Sound (Burger Records) / Snap Yr Cookies (Ample Play)

"Cornershop exist in an eternally long summer of 1973, where country rock, lovelorn soul and loose-limbed funk still rule the airwaves; they operate in an unusual zone where hip hop's awesome functionality didn't progress any further beyond the block party, the boombox and the car stereo; they drive a classic convertible with the roof down along odd roads populated by loon pant wearing hippies, sideburn sporting Memphis horn players and other assorted freaks and geeks. They are the absolute opposite of James Murphy's status anxiety-ridden ur hipster narrating LCD Soundsytem's 'Losing My Edge'. They rifle through cheap car boot sale vinyl in order to create a free-wheeling, life-affirming vibe of Punjabi folk music, Blue Note jazz funk, trucker rock and weird beard analogue pop. All of which leads me to ask one question - where's the new album? I don't know the answer, but what I do know is that this C60 cassette of favourites chosen by Mikey IQ of NYC record shop Other Music and released by Californian label Burger Records, and this compilation of collaborations released on the band's Ample Play, both make an ideal soundtrack for the blissful weather we're currently having." John Doran

The Hot For May Sound:

Side A:

Side B:

Click here to listen and buy this album on eMusic

9. V/A - Sorrow Come Pass Me Around: A Survey Of Rural Black Religious Music
(Dust To Digital)

"The so-called 'greatest LP of gospel field recordings ever produced' does a lot to live up to its name. This excellent Dust To Digital album is itself a reissue of a compilation first issued in 1975. Recorded mainly by ethnomusicologist David Evans, with some help from other notables such as John Fahey and Cheryl Thurber between 1965 and 1973, across the southern states of America. The songs benefit, I think, from being recorded at the request of the compiler, in mainly domestic settings rather than during actual religious services. They benefit from an intense intimacy, given that most are just the unaccompanied voice or voices with guitars or banjos. There's just as much pleasure to be had in standards such as 'Glory Glory Hallelujah' and 'When The Circle Be Unbroken' as there is in relatively obscure material like 'The Ship Is At The Landing' and 'Can't No Grave Hold My Body Down'." John Doran

Click here to listen and buy this album on eMusic

8. Ben UFO - Fabriclive.67
(Fabric)

"Many current European and US house DJs, especially those contributing mixes for Fabric, will mix for groove - tracks are allowed to play out across their length, the better to show off their subtle contours and not disturb the overall pulse. Thomson's mixing here gives equal priority to impact, a tendency common throughout the UK's post-rave diaspora (though admittedly not unique to it). So rhythm is central: percussion is in a continuous state of anxious disturbance throughout the CD's 72-odd minutes, swirling around your field of hearing, settling into one rhythmic configuration before dispersing and re-forming into something new. The overall effect upon the listener - oddly, despite its wild energy and perpetual momentum - is one of being pinned in one place while all hell breaks loose around you." Rory Gibb

Read our review here

7. Cairo Liberation Front - Electro Chaabi For Avant Garde Lovers
(Quietus Mix)

"There's a sonic Arabic revolution going on. A DIY sound of a generation - which previously had no sound - appeared. Produced on cracked versions of Fruity Loops. Played on distorted and crackling PAs. Electro Chaabi from Egypt is wedding music that sounds pretty avant-garde to our Western ears. It's a combination of American hip-hop, Euro dance and Arabic rhythms. A scene that has no physical releases and only works via social media like Facebook, YouTube and Mediafire." Yannick Verhoeven

Read more about Cairo Liberation Front here

6. Mogwai - Les Revenants
(Rock Action)

"Mogwai totally understand the subtleties of composition. Over the course of their predominantly vocal-free 17-year career they have perfected the art of creating a mood solely with their instruments; gently toying with your emotions before unleashing the behemoth of noise. But the whole point of a soundtrack is to accompany the film (or TV series) and drive it along from the backseat. It isn't meant to take over the whole affair – it is an accompaniment; a functional element used to manipulate the way that an audience views the action on screen." Joe Clay

Read our review here

Click here to listen and buy this album on eMusic

5. V/A - London Is The Place For Me Vols. 5 & 6
(Honest Jon's)

"This has easily been my most listened to record of the entire year, and it's possibly my favourite in Honest Jon's' consistently excellent London Is The Place For Me series of compilations, gathering together music from the earliest black immigrant communities to move to London mid-last century. Featuring, as ever, several tremendously witty calypso songs speaking of the minutiae of everyday life from Lords Kitchener and Beginner, as well as jazz and West African highlife, it's by turns funny, moving and thought-provoking as a portrait of a London that no longer exists in the same way. As a bonus, it's also one of those records that's impossible to listen to without feeling your mood lighten, such is the buoyant, infectious energy that pours from the music. Very highly recommended." Rory Gibb

4. Tantra - The Collection
(Disco Recharge)

"Released in 1979 in the wake of the electronic/ orchestral progressions of fellow Europeans Cerrone and Giorgio Moroder, ‘Hills Of Katmandu’ remains a unique and progressive slice of Italo disco, even within the annals of this most futuristic genre - much of that had to do with (Celso) Valli’s conservatory training coupled with his deep knowledge of world music. The result was a complex, trippy suite of music that stretched out over 16 minutes, making it perfect fodder for the more heady dancefloors of The Loft and The Saint in New York and Baia Degli Angeli in Rimini. Speaking about another Italo classic Riz Ortolani’s 'Il Corpo Di Linda', DJ Benetti referred to the Moroder-on-steroids bassline, and that could also be used to describe the pulsations of ‘Hills’ as the first section of the track builds." Andy Thomas

Read our review here

3. V/A - Dabke: Sounds of the Syrian Houran
(Sham Palace)

"Over the past few years Alan Bishop's Sublime Frequencies label has been responsible for introducing the Middle Eastern dance form dabke to the world, primarily via the medium of Syrian star Omar Souleyman. This year's Dabke: Sounds Of The Syrian Houran compilation found Bishop's friend and collaborator Mark Gergis issuing, on his Sham Palace label, a selection of tracks by other artists. They're astonishing - abrasive, dusty, intensely funky and psychedelic dance music - but none quite as much as Mohammed Al Ali's 'Mili Alay', whose pitched-up chants and pounding drum machine rhythms are as physically powerful and mind-altering as the hardest ends of rave and techno." Rory Gibb

2. Perc - Boiler Room Mix
(Boiler Room)

"In which Ali 'Perc' Wells lays down a demolishing selection of power station ambient, industrially tinged techno tracks and soot-blackened funk for a mid-afternoon Boiler Room audience most likely unprepared for the aural battery. Relentlessly funky, especially when he fully hits his stride by around the half-hour mark - but stay around for his wrecking-ball remix of Dan Avery, one of the Quietus office's favourite tracks of the year, which goes off like a grenade around the 40 minute mark." Rory Gibb

1. V/A - Kenya Special
(Soundway)

"The Soundway Special albums deserve their nomenclature. The Nigeria compilation is loved by many and the Quietus has waxed lyrical about the Ghana Special in the past as well as voting it our reissue of the year in 2009. Instead of honing straight in on genre in a particular African country the selectors (in this case Miles Cleret, Johan Fredrik Lavik and Richard Masip) widen the focus to a large period of one country's musical history, in this case Kenya in the 70s and 80s. Instead this is a crate digging exercise where they discount everything bar the most unusual tracks and add a handful of genre classics, giving us, the listener, 32 nuggets of solid gold. In this sense they pull off the same near impossible feat that Soul Jazz's Dynamite series did with reggae, in being enjoyable to both experts and novices alike. A lot of these tracks are culled from the benga boom of the 70s, played by tribally affiliated groups utilising sparse, funky instrumentation, tight syncopated rhythms and deep bass. But there are also pristine examples of Swahili Rumba, Wagogo Afro pop and Kenyan twist. Every single track is highly recommended however." John Doran

Click here to listen and buy this album on eMusic

  1. V/A - Kenya Special (Soundway)
  2. Perc Boiler Room Mix (Boiler Room Mix)
  3. V/A - Dabke - Sounds of the Syrian Houran (Sham Palace)
  4. Tantra - The Collection (Disco Recharge)
  5. V/A - London Is The Place For Me Vols. 5&6 (Honest Jon's)
  6. Mogwai - Les Revenants (Rock Action)
  7. Cairo Liberation Front - Electro Chaabi For Avant Garde Lovers (Quietus Mix)
  8. Ben UFO - Fabriclive.67 (Fabric)
  9. V/A - Sorrow Come Pass Me Around: A Survey Of Rural Black Religious Music (Dust To Digital)
  10. Cornershop - The Hot For May Sound (Burger Records) / Snap Yr Cookies (Ample Play)
  11. DJ Sprinkles - Queerification & Ruins (Collected Remixes) (Mule Musiq)
  12. Mark Gergis - I Remember Syria (Sublime Frequencies)
  13. A Hawk And A Hacksaw - You Have Already Gone To The Other World (LM Dupli-cation)
  14. V/A - Deutsche Elektronische Musik 2 — Experimental German Rock And Electronic Music 1972-83 (Soul Jazz Records)
  15. Mark Ernestus & Jeri Jeri - Ndagga Versions / 800% Ndagga (Ndagga)
  16. Broadcast - Berberian Sound Studio (Warp)
  17. V/A - Acid: Mysterons Invade The Jackin' Zone (Soul Jazz)
  18. V/A - Who’s That Man? A Tribute To Conny Plank (Gronland)
  19. V/A - Collision / Detection (Front & Follow)
  20. Bolt Thrower - In Battle There Is No Law
  21. Scott Walker - Scott Box Set
  22. Iannis Xenakis - GRM Works 1957-62 (Recollections GRM)
  23. V/A - Celluloid: Change The Beat - The Celluloid Records Story 1979 – 1987
  24. V/A - Interpretations On F.C. Judd (Public Information)
  25. Godflesh - Godflesh, Selfless, Us And Them box set (Earache)
  26. V/A - Eglo Records Vol. 1 (Eglo)
  27. Melvins - Everybody Loves Sausages (Ipecac)
  28. Kode9 - Rinse.22 (Rinse)
  29. Chelsea Wolfe - Prayer For The Unborn (Latitudes)
  30. V/A - Keysound: This Is How We Roll (Keysound)
  31. Ennio Morricone - Morricone In Colour box set (Cherry Red)
  32. V/A - Terror Danjah Presents Hardwired (Hardrive)
  33. Imaginary Forces - Psychedelic Entropy (Quietus Mix)
  34. Steffi - Panoramabar 05 (Ostgut Ton)
  35. V/A - Mirror To The Soul (Soul Jazz)
  36. Pearson Sound - RA.361 Podcast (Resident Advisor)
  37. The Cleaners From Venus - S/T Box Set Vol 2 (Captured Tracks)
  38. Powell - FACT Mix 390 (FACT Mix)
  39. V/A - Stand Up People: Gypsy Pop Songs From Tito’s Yugoslavia 1964 - 1980 (Asphalt Tango)
  40. Rodion G.A. - The Lost Tapes (Strut)

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