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Reissues, Comps & Mixes Of 2013 (In Association With Norman Records)
Rory Gibb , December 28th, 2013 07:26

As if there wasn't enough to keep you occupied in our albums of 2013 list, the Quietus staff sift through 2013's finest archival reissues, compilations, soundtracks, free-to-download mixes, mixtapes and other unclassifiable sonic artefacts. With thanks to Sophie Coletta

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To be a music fan in 2013 requires strategies with which to carve paths through the vast quantities of recorded sound released into the world daily. Keeping up with new albums alone is task enough: our Quietus albums list, which we published earlier this month, reached a round 100 for the first time this year, likely sufficient to keep an individual listener occupied for months on end. But then what about all that other stuff? Archival reissues, of which there seem to be more each year as music's history is ever more deeply dug for lost gems, out-of-press canonical classics and, often, already available records dressed up in swish new clothing. Compilations offering insights into musical communities, scenes and genres both old and new. And, perhaps most visibly, free-to-download mixes, which have become a progressively common feature of online musical life as net bandwidth has become faster and more widely accessible.

How to filter through the background noise to discover the stuff worth devoting time to? There's no easy answer, but it's becoming increasingly clear that attempting to keep track of everything is an utterly futile task, not to mention one that's trying to both sanity and social life. Personally speaking, more than any other year, there have been moments in 2013 when I've felt so overwhelmed by choice that I've struggled to summon up the desire to listen to any music at all. So spending December assembling both the Quietus albums of 2013 list and this follow-up - which gathers together all the other stuff we've been enjoying this year, via reissues, mixes, compilations and soundtracks - has been an unexpectedly pleasurable experience. Casting an eye backward patiently through the year and picking out favourites - releases and mixes that have continued to feel vital as time has marched on - has been a welcome reminder that there's much to be gained from slowing down and making space to savour the music you do choose to spend time with.

In some ways, this top 75 list - assembled by myself, Luke Turner, John Doran and Laurie Tuffrey - offers a more accurate overall representation of the Quietus staff's 2013 listening than our straight-up albums selection. With brand new albums now being only one of several ways people are exposed to new music, this list broadens its scope to give equal weight to the sounds we've come across in different contexts. So, in addition to plenty of great older music given the reissue treatment, contained here are the DJs and producers who've soundtracked our late nights on the dancefloor: the likes of Livity Sound, Beneath, Perc, Laurel Halo and Bok Bok. Then there are contemporary sounds evolving largely outside the reach of the Western music media, including Mark Gergis' collections for Sublime Frequencies and Sham Palace, plus the first widely released compilation documenting Cairo's emergent electro chaabi sound (which tQ editor John Doran traveled to the city to report on earlier this year). And the free-to-download mixes that have stood out as doing something unique, like Lee Gamble's recent concept-led missive for SecretThirteen and Galcher Lustwerk's peerless 100% Galcher mixtape.

As ever, this list is limited to what we've heard and had the capacity to spend time with, and as such is an entirely subjective look back at a year in music. We've undoubtedly missed out plenty of things worthy of attention, so please feel free to remind us what we should have included in the comments below. Above all, hopefully you'll find something (or several things) in the following countdown that you enjoy listening to as much as we do. And, as with our albums of the year list, this list is presented in association with our friends at Norman Records for all your vinyl and CD buying needs - just follow the link after each entry to head to their online store.

75. Blancmange – Irene & Mavis
(Minimal Tape)

"The trajectory from experimenting with new-fangled electronics to chart-topping synth pop was one followed by more than a few artists during the 1980s, but Blancmange's is one that's perhaps less known than that of, say Cabaret Voltaire or OMD despite Daniel 'Mute' Miller's proclamation that the duo were "the maiden aunts of electronic music". Cold wave excavator Veronica Vasicka has rereleased Blancmange's 1980 EP Irene & Mavis via her Minimal Wave label, and it's far more than a curio on the road to somewhere else. There's a stately grandeur to 'Holiday Camp' while the mad chatter of 'Overspreading Art Genius' is unhinged nuclear chatter, and 'Concentration Baby' off-kilter narrative post punk with bonkers sax that anticipates Pulp." Luke Turner

74. Edward Artemiev – Solaris OST
(Mirumir)

"Unlike the scores to most science fiction films, Edward Artimiev does not have the unenviable (and redundant) job of trying to represent the sickeningly silent and empty void of space with music. These still very contemporary sounding abyssal roars, echoing drones and bursts of tension-building dissonance are deployed to represent inner space. The score skillfully maps out the interior topography of Kris Kelvin - the cosmonaut psychologist sent to the rescue of a foundering mission investigating a mysterious ocean planet. In a film which tends to flip between terse silence and deep philosophical speech lacking in naturalism, the beautiful cinematography and stunning score are the real (and very necessary) stars of this exploration into the multiple failures of human verbal communication. Artimiev creates a bridge between his own abstract synthesiser work and the film's use of J.S. Bach's organ music with an electronic sub theme for Kelvin's dead wife Hari, based on the work of the German composer." John Doran



73. The Butthole Surfers – Rembrandt Pussyhorse
(Latino Bugger Veil)

"Despite the goofy title, Rembrandt Pussy Horse remains The Butthole Surfers album least in thrall to drug humour, and is played with a viciously straight bat for the most part. The band have cast off their hardcore punk mixed with Texan psych roots, but not yet geared up to the titanic, all out attack on the senses which is Locust Abortion Technician. For one of the most wilfully weird rock groups of the 1980s, this is perhaps their weirdest sounding record, having more in common with This Heat and The Fall than the Thirteenth Floor Elevators, but with the massively gated drums and ultra sterile production favoured by the likes of Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel during the same period." John Doran



72. World Of Twist – Quality Street
(Loop)

"I've had over 20 years to think about it, and now I've come to the conclusion that the reason why World of Twist weren't massively famous, is that they weren't for our time. Maybe we just weren't ready for them. Of the slim catalogue of footage available on YouTube, it would seem as if they were more an apparition than a band. There are the videos, featuring furry landscapes and a big rotating ROCK AND ROLL sign and lava-lampian dream sequences. A strange Snub TV interview at a swimming baths. That appearance on The Word, where some keenly enthusiastic dancers in the crowd give it the full C&C Music Factory pantaloon shape-throw to 'The Storm', while the band, oblivious to all this – Gordon shuffling with his guitar, Adge and MC Sea Shells moving some bits and pieces about on a board and creating whooshes, impassively there working on these new sounds, these new ways, becoming a new far out." Ian Wade



71. Songs:Ohia - Magnolia Electric Co.
(Secretly Canadian)



70. Skullflower - Kino I-IV
(Shock)

"Skullflower were the sound of balefulness. A sneer turned into noise. Slouching out of the squats of North London in the mid 80s, moving among the purveyors of noise, power electronics and industrial - while not really sounding anything like them - they mixed with the acid heads, the occultists, the drop outs and the horror freaks, distilling the bad vibes up into an anti-aesthetic. Their music, from their initial phase, was a sickening edifice built from intransigence, tiredness, intolerance, angst and anger: a pair of taunting scare quotes hanging round nothing, framed by void. Untutored to perfection, their atonal no wave, post post punk, un-free noise rock, was the blueprint for something terrible and slightly brilliant that never really came to pass… maybe because no one was listening… maybe because they forgot to tell anyone what they were doing in the first place." John Doran



69. 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



68. 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

67. Various - New Orleans Funk Volume 3
(Soul Jazz)

"The hallmark of a great Soul Jazz compilation is the balance between the stone cold classics and the well selected deep cuts, and this compilation serves up both well. The Explosions, The Deacons, Diamond Joe and The Rubiyats make up the number of rarities. It's really worth buying, whether you've got a house party imminent or not." John Doran



66. Various - Mutazione: Italian Electronic & New Wave Underground 1980 - 1988
(Strut)

"These don't feel like attempts to fit into a recognisable seam of avant-garde expressionism, but rather earnest attempts to sculpt into sound a suffocating sense of claustrophobia and tension and to hammer the body into a total autonomous zone, completely free from outside interference. The best tracks on Mutazione feel like the work of kids attempting to seize back their destinies with any instruments that lay in their path." Mat Colegate



65. Hawkwind - Space Ritual
(EMI)

"Released in May 1973, Space Ritual is a unique piece of British music history. Across its 88 minutes, it delivers one of the most mind-bending, trance-inducing and flat-out immersive experiences available for your ears and brain. It's one hell of a trip and certainly the finest heavy psychedelic album produced in this country." Joe Banks

Read our review here

64. Various - Deutsche Elektronische Musik 2: Experimental German Rock & Electronic Music 1972-83
(Soul Jazz)

"Great Soul Jazz compilations usually contain a mix of standards, rarities and oddities, and this second volume in their krautrock series is no exception. So rubbing shoulders with Can's 'Halleluwah', Amon Duul II's 'A Morning Excuse' and Neu's 'Isi' we have the likes of A.R. & Machines. This group was a project of Achim Reichel who first came to prominence as a member of 'the German Beatles', The Rattles and would later take up Schlager, but here is indulging in some far out space rock. Also featured is Wolfgang Reichmann, the third member of The Spirits Of Sound, the late 60s Hendrix inspired rock group that featured Michael Rother and Wolfgang Flur. The track 'Himmelblau' is taken from his 1978 album Wunderbar, which was released posthumously after Reichmann was murdered in a senseless street attack." John Doran



63. Robbie Basho - Visions Of The Country
(Gnome Life)

"I won't be the first to point out that when it comes to artists associated with the Takoma record label, plenty view Robbie Basho's singing style and lyrics as something that must be endured in order to appreciate his virtuosic skill on the steel strung guitar. This is a shame indeed, as his voice - which can reasonably be described as an 'acquired taste' - is a taste worth acquiring. By the time the beautiful Visions Of The Country came out in 1978 Basho was already a man both behind and ahead of the times, sounding at turns like Fred Neil and Antony Hegarty. Lyrically, perhaps it would be better to just say he was a man removed almost entirely from modern times, and fully in tune with a deeper and older spiritual poetic tradition that includes Blake, Doolittle, Rumi, Hafiz and Wordsworth." John Doran



62. Dark - Round The Edges
(Light In The Attic)

"The idea of a 'holy grail' record in any collector scene is nearing redundancy now, with an insane amount of library recordings, private pressings, international discs and the like all clamouring for the title but having little to recommend them other than a massively over-inflated price tag and rarity. Round The Edges, the early 70s heavy psych rock record by the Northampton trio of longhairs, Dark, has a fair claim to the status however, and this high quality vinyl reissue reveals exactly why people have obsessed over its guitar tone for years." John Doran



61. Various Artists - Who's That Man? A Tribute To Conny Plank
(Gronland)

"Plank helped create a new kind of rock music. Deliberately eschewing obvious American influences and tired blues clichés in favour of neo-classical experimentation (Plank, like Can's Holger Czukay, had worked with legendary composer Karlheinz Stockhausen), krautrock invented itself from the ground up, exploring the possibilities of modern electronic instruments including the studio itself. This was Plank's speciality, and although he had no obvious signature sound as such, his openness to untried ideas, almost childlike creativity, his use of space and restless attentiveness to the texture of sound and the possibility for constantly altering it (as opposed to the focus on 'serving the song' that was the M.O. of most superstar producers of the time) meant that his work immediately captured the attention of artists and fans alike." Ben Graham



60. Various Artists - Grime 2.0
(Big Dada)

"Having survived a series of dramatic plot-twists across its now teenage lifespan that'd be enough to sink most nascent styles - an explosion into the public eye off the back of Boy In Da Corner, pop flirtations and diversions into cookie-cutter electro-house, a several-year-long slump in listener interest and a recent, gradual return to (sort of) vogue - grime's in much better shape than it has any right to be. Even more so when compared to the majority of other UK-borne dance styles, which tend to lapse into staid predictability by this point in their lives. By contrast, grime at the moment is more varied and volatile than it's ever been - covering a wide tempo range, chewing up bits of other genres with pleasingly omnivorous glee and arriving from outposts all across the globe - making it difficult to pin down quite where its borders lie. This compilation, curated by journalist Joe Muggs, draws together tracks by newer and older producers alike, from several different countries, making for a pleasingly broad (if, by virtue of grime's current breadth, far from comprehensive) insight into where the genre and its newly-birthed descendent offshoots have found themselves in 2013." Rory Gibb

59. Kode9 - Rinse 22
(Rinse)

"As platter after platter hit the floor, so too do genres. A flurry of cuts from Terror Danjah, DVA, Champion and Jam City come in a rapid succession whereby grime, UK funky and trashy neon house are fused into a nameless but ferocious hybrid. Things hit full throttle with Dexplicit's grimey shoot-em-up 'Change Formation', by which time BPMs are reaching the higher numbers. Things really don't stay still for long, with few tracks staying in the mix for more than a minute or two. Yet there's a lot to be said for Goodman's expert use of space and arrangement. The overall effect is never cluttered, and neither does the mix ever feel like treatment to an exercise in genre-hopping. Everything is blended with such deftness that, despite prompting a wish for certain tracks to hang around a little longer, it feels like we're being shown a snapshot of exactly how colourful and coherent the current musical landscape really is; grand unifying dance style or not." Charlie Frame



58. Primus - Sailing The Seas Of Cheese
(UMC)

"Primus albums, in my opinion, are like Coen brothers films. You have these colorful characters, but there's a lot of darkness to them, they tend to be tragic. I mean, there's a lot of dark material off Primus records. 'Jerry Was A Racecar Driver' is about a guy who gets drunk, has a run-in with a tree and kills himself. 'John The Fisherman', a tragedy. Then there are straight up songs like 'Bob', about a friend of mine who hung himself. Like life in general, through adversity there is a lot of humour. That's how people deal. That's how I deal. It's always been done through humour. That's what my lyrics reflect- stories that I grew up listening to, whether they were musicals or lots of country music. There were a lot of tales being told. That's what I tend to be drawn towards - something that tells some kind of tale." Les Claypool



57. Gherkin Jerks - Alleviated Presents Gherkin Jerks
(Alleviated)

"With reissue culture in the house music world reaching fever pitch at the moment, it can be frankly knackering to keep track of the barrage of both old and brand new material making its way into the world on a weekly basis. Alleviated Presents Gherkin Jerks, though, is one of those releases it's worth delving into: a CD gathering all the tracks from deep house pioneer Larry Heard's previously ultra rare Gherkin Jerks 12"s (which were re-pressed this year) with a few previously unheard extras. It contains some of Heard's strangest and most spaced-out excursions into cosmic house and radiation-blasted techno, curious and compelling listens in their own right, but whose re-emergence has felt doubly timely during a year when the work of contemporary techno voyagers like Jamal 'Hieroglyphic Being' Moss and Morphosis was at peak power." Rory Gibb



56. 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

Click here to listen to Imaginary Forces' Psychedelic Entropy mix

55. Various - 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

54. Various - 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

Buy on vinyl or CD from Norman Records

53. Ennio Morricone - Morricone In Colour
(Cherry Red)

"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

Click here to read our review
Buy on vinyl or CD from Norman Records

52. Various - Traxbox
(Harmless)

"To me and to Phuture, acid was basically a state of mind that you entered into when you listened to that song. It was kind of like the feeling I got when I made songs like [Marshall Jefferson presents Truth ‘Open Our Eyes'], was losing control and I was trying to get deep… deep into stuff. It took me back to a place where I used to be a lot. I used to get stoned a lot in the 70s. I stopped getting stoned when I got into the music business, but I was trying to take myself back to that place without getting high, which is something I found myself able to do quite well sometimes. I hate to say it but a lot of people who got high, they got it! So that's where I was trying to go for, that euphoria when you're just staring at the ceiling or something, thinking, contemplating life and different things. That's what Pierre and Phuture and I meant by that. We weren't meaning for everyone to go out and do acid. We just wanted people to go into that state of mind." Marshall Jefferson



51. Various - Stand Up, People: Gypsy Pop Songs From Tito's Yugoslavia 1964-1980
(Asphalt Tango)

"The 1960s and 70s were a period of flourishing for Yugoslavia's Roma people. Even as Tito filled prison camps off the Adriatic coast, at home the Roma enjoyed official recognition for the first time. In a campaign for political stability, Tito conferred on Yugoslavs the right to identify according to their group, and the Roma - historically persecuted and mere decades earlier murdered in the tens of thousands by the Ustaše fascists - were amongst the main beneficiaries. Roma culture was suddenly pushed overground. The music of that period has been captured in a new collection of pop and folk made between 1964 and 1980 by the Roma of Macedonia, Kosovo, and southern Serbia. Stand Up, People is an extraordinary set of tracks that demonstrate the pioneering spirit of the period, in which musicians took traditional forms and tilted them restlessly towards modernity." Josh Hall

Click here to read our review

50. 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

49. Sandwell District – Fabric 69
(Fabric)

"As of winter 2013, it seems that turbulent multinational techno outfit Sandwell District is no more. This mix for Fabric, then, is an interesting final statement, a perhaps surprisingly smooth - given all that dark artwork and the various members' penchants for cheerily brutal techno - and propulsive set of tracks from inspirations (Boyd Rice, Frank Tovey, Richie Hawtin), members and associates (Surgeon, Rrose), and the next generation of electronic music's bleak modernists (Factory Floor, Vatican Shadow, Raime) that compiler Function said was all about "encapsulating an era and putting it to rest." The subtlety of the execution is what makes this stand out - the moment when the instantly familiar riff from Plastikman's 'Plasticine' emerges is quite something." Luke Turner



48. Lee Gamble – Your Sociometric Afterlife
(SecretThirteen, free DL)

"In keeping with previous mixes by the London-based musician and sound artist, Lee Gamble's contribution to the SecretThirteen series wasn't a mix, per se; Your Sociometric Afterlife is a composition all of its own, forty minutes of fragmented narrative built up using enigmatic sampled voices, synthesised drones and abrupt changes in mood. The specifics of the story it's telling are tough to discern exactly, but in notes alongside the piece Gamble hints at some of the themes he's addressing: the surveillance society, governmental crackdown on dissent, conspiracy, modern lives spent immersed in the online data world. In contrast to most freely available online mixes, it's a piece of unusual depth and rewards - nay, demands - repeat listens to decipher." Rory Gibb

Click here to stream/download Lee Gamble's mix for SecretThirteen

47. 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 are ideal antidotes to the freezing weather we're currently experiencing." John Doran

46. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Live From KCRW
(Bad Seed Ltd)

"Live At KCRW is a fine declaration of where The Bad Seeds are in the here and now. It would be a fool who would second-guess as to where they're headed to next but at this moment in time they sound as comfortable in their music as they do the fine suits they wear." Julian Marszalek



45. Beneath - Mix for Hessle Audio, Rinse FM

"Someone else whose music maps the city as a toxic place to be is Beneath, whose tracks are so heavy-lidded and pranged-out it's a wonder they manage to rouse themselves into action at all (in fact, unreleased cut 'Bored 1' doesn't, preferring to remain sullenly beatless). In Beneath's hands the urban world is a battlefield teeming with foes just out of sight, something to be passed through with hood up and eyes down - or quite the opposite, to be dealt with by projecting a front of seething belligerence. His beats are endlessly fascinating - hard-edged, tough and confrontational, but stirred into patterns that coil back upon themselves in infinity loops, pulling back from the build/drop lexicon in favour of bristling, groove-led restraint." Rory Gibb

Click here to stream or download Beneath's mix for the Hessle Audio show

44. Various - 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



43. Various - Choubi Choubi: Folk & Pop Sounds From Iraq Vol. 2
(Sublime Frequencies)

"This excellent LP is a follow up to the original Choubi Choubi album that Mark Gergis put together in 2005 for Sublime Frequencies. It features a wealth of Iraqi folk-pop dance recordings from the 1980s, 90s and early 2000s - with all of it recorded under Saddam Hussein's rule. And just in case there's any chance of a casual listener missing the point of this (it's never just about the music, man) the compiler and artist spells it out in the liner notes: “What has happened to Iraq since the 2003 US invasion and eventual occupation? Endless death, destruction and chaos, the complete take-down of a functional sovereign secular government [regardless of your opinion on that government], puppet installations, contrived sectarian divisions, the wholesale looting of culture, rampant opportunism, and apparently no lessons learned - all at the Iraqi people's expense.” So this is music from the near past - from happier cultural times under Hussein. Of course, it's a provocative political statement and not entirely clad in iron - music produced under the previous regime was institutionalised and it is undeniable that music continues to be made in Iraq now; it's just that in 2013 musicians and artists are more likely to be the victims of violence or murder by extremists and more music shops and concert venues have been targeted successfully since 2003 by bombers." John Doran



42. Sadat And Alaa Fifty Cent - The Best Of Sadat & Alaa Fifty Cent
(Generation Bass)

"With the opening up of internet channels, young working class Egyptians have gained access to an array of cracked music softwares, allowing electro chaabi to draw all manner of ideas and sonic quirks into the mix. The reedy drone of traditional chaabi wedding music is present as a buzzsaw electronic whine, threaded through with dramatically autotuned vocals and overtly synthetic melodic lines. Hip hop's swagger is present predominantly in the MCs themselves, who act as hosts and focal points, while their lyrics - I'm told - discuss subjects ranging from the personal to implicit social commentary. Without the ability to understand what they're saying, my focus is drawn squarely to the fluid textural and rhythmic aspects of the music, which possess something of dancehall's infectious low-end strut 'n' bounce and a sing-song-y metallic rattle that carries energy through the high end. That basic framework is scrambled with an almost junglist taste for interference - brief interruptions in momentum usher in flurries of pitchshifted, breakbeat-like drums, while around weight-bearing structural elements weave intricate spirals of additional percussion, offering new trajectories for willing limbs to follow. It sounds like a fusion of many styles I've heard before but simultaneously not quite akin to any of them, and its energy is irresistible." Rory Gibb

41. Suede – The Vinyl Collection
(Demon Music Group)

"Acquiring Suede's back catalogue on vinyl is an expensive business, which makes this box set an essential purchase for any terylene shirt wearing newcomers to their music. With this year's new album Bloodsports arguably second only to Dog Man Star in the Suede discography, it's also a timely reminder of just what a special place they've occupied for so many people over the past twenty years. This point is rammed home with the inclusion, for the first time on vinyl, of killer B-sides compilation Sci-Fi Lullabies - worth buying simply to get to stare at that gorgeous cover art of an English Electric Lightning wrecked and used for target practice on some desolate moor." Luke Turner

40. Cabaret Voltaire - Red Mecca
(Mute)

"Mute's had a Cabs heavy year, what with the reissue of the Sheffield group's output from the years following Chris Watson's departure in the huge #8385 (Collected Works 1983-1985) box set. This vinyl reissue of their excellent third album Red Mecca is still as taut and caustically funky as ever, bolstered with a subtle remastering job by Stefan 'Pole' Betke, and feels ideally placed to attract the attention of a younger generation of listeners turned towards similar territories by the current vogue for all things dark, twisted and electronic."



39. DJ Sprinkles - Queerifications & Ruins (Collected Remixes)
(Mule Musiq)

"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

38. Various - 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



37. Dickon Hinchliffe - Red Riding: In The Year Of Our Lord 1980
(Blackest Ever Black)

"Blackest Ever Black broadened the reach of their musical horizons this year, most overtly via this vinyl issue of Tindersticks founder member Dickon Hinchliffe's soundtrack to the second film from the Red Riding trilogy. Fitting the film's subject matter - police activity surrounding the Yorkshire Ripper murders, with its main protagonist played by Paddy Considine - Hinchliffe's orchestral score is by turns melancholic, harrowing and bleakly beautiful, and structured in such a way that it's possible to follow a distinct emotional narrative running through its twelve tracks." Rory Gibb



36. Ben UFO - Essential Mix
(Broadcast on BBC Radio 1)

"Ben Thomson's DJ sets often bring a swift, impact-led mixing style to bear on house, techno and the various strains of mutant, bruk 'n' bass UK techno that have established themselves in recent years. On a club floor his sets somehow manage to be simultaneously considered and raucous, locking into an irresistible four-to-the-floor groove, or knocking you for six with unexpected tangents, old favourites you'd forgotten about or brutally bizarre secret weapons." Rory Gibb

You can stream Ben UFO's Essential Mix here

35. T.R.A.S.E. - Tape Recorder And Synthesizer Ensemble
(Finders Keepers)

"I realised after my fifth or sixth listen to this LP that someone had looked inside of me and realised one of my childhood dreams (by proxy) without me even having to ask. (Which pretty much means Andy Popplewell has realised the childhood dreams of thousands of others as well, I guess.) For I'd totally forgotten that when I was in school, this is what I dreamed of. Getting a band together that sounded like Ultravox! or OMD. Making synths. Writing songs. Recording an actual album that sounded like it did in my imagination. Doing the artwork myself. Doing it all just so I could say I'd done it. Just for the craic. It's like looking across the multiverse and seeing the version of reality where I had the aptitude, the inclination, the inspiration, the talent and the energy to get it all done before hitting the age when being in band becomes all too real and ends up being about practice, success, ego, the slog and all of the distractions." John Doran



34. Patrick Cowley - School Daze
(Dark Entries)

"Anyone who hasn't spent a good quarter of an hour gyrating to Cowley's masterful reworking of Tantra's 'Hills Of Kathmandu' has lived a life far from blessing and grace. Opportunities to move to Cowley's music in a more deviant fashion come courtesy of this reissue of his soundtracks to the gay porn films of Fox Studios (no relation), all anxious furtive-eyes-outside-a-Chariots-private-booth synth, mucky sling rhythms, and synths that just glide... you get the drift. Tracks like 'Pagan Rhythms' anticipate or parallel Throbbing Gristle, which proves rather apt in more ways than one." Luke Turner



33. Bok Bok - Mix For Resident Advisor
(free DL)

"Night Slugs, the London-based label co-run by Bok Bok, has been putting out remarkable between-worlds club music since its very first release (Mosca's 2009 tripartite shocker 'Nike'). Yet 2013 felt like the year the label - and its LA-based sister institution Fade To Mind - really came into its own, with its output from co-founder L-Vis 1990, Helix, Hysterics and Jam City alighting upon a shared, unerringly focused aesthetic: tough yet intricate drum patterns, shiver-down-the-spine melodic fogdrifts, beats possessed of the arch-backed poise of R&B and ballroom house. As with Bok Bok's Rinse FM shows, which connect various forms of US house to contemporary UK dance styles, his recent mix for Resident Advisor showcased that aesthetic in action, its rhythms continually reshuffling themselves like a deck of cards, stacked up into beautiful glass-and-steel architectures before being blown apart again. During a year when plenty of supposed dancefloor music proved surprisingly frustrating to dance to, Night Slugs imagined new future club zones to become lost within; and excitingly, this mix hints at much more yet to come." Rory Gibb

Click here to listen and download Bok Bok's RA mix

32. Nath & Martin Brothers - Money
(Voodoo Funk)

"I've had this on regular rotation since its reissue a few weeks back by the Honest Jon's-distributed Voodoo Funk label. Money, a 1970s recording by Nigerian funk/Afrobeat group The Martin Brothers, was apparently something of a holy grail for collectors of African music and funk, with very few copies in existence, and it's not difficult to tell why. It's an intoxicatingly moody fifty minutes, raw-round-the-edges and brimming with enough energy to spill from the speakers and inhabit whatever space you happen to be playing it in - a perfect antidote to the chilly, murky building-site atmosphere closing in on Quietus HQ ." Rory Gibb

31. Fluxion - Vibrant Forms
(Type)

"Where Basic Channel laid the foundations for the dub-techno sound, Chain Reaction arguably went about exploring its outer limits. Similarly to label partners such as Vladislav Delay or Vainqueur, Fluxion's works seem to have barely dated at all in the last fifteen tears. And at a time when a boundless pursuit of harder and more aggressive sounds seems to be the principal aim in certain strands of the techno scene, Vibrant Forms' intoxicating, meditative techno is particularly welcome." Theo Darton-Moore



30. Loop – Fade Out
(Reactor)

"There's much difficulty in resisting being mentally transported back to a time of late night chemical misbehaviour and deviant activities when Loop were the soundtrack of choice, but right now, at a time when battle lines are being drawn in the sand in a far more brutal fashion than back in the 80s, Loop are just as pertinent." Julian Marszalek



29. Laurel Halo - Mix For XLR8R
(free DL)

"Arriving around the same time as the slippery, disorienting club constructions of her second full-length Chance Of Rain, Laurel Halo's mix for XLR8R presented a similarly dense and immersive listening prospect. As an introduction to the more adventurous reaches of 2013 club music, it's pretty hard to beat, presenting contemporary music from the likes of MM/KM, Jam City, Vester Koza, Kyle Hall & MGUN, Madteo, Halo herself and the Acido and PAN labels, and contextualising those with nods to crucial inspirations like the Chain Reaction label, Detroit's Terrence Dixon and Smith N Hack." Rory Gibb

Click here to listen and download Laurel Halo's XLR8R mix

28. Various - Philadelphia International Classics: The Tom Moulton Remixes
(Harmless)

"The luxuriously wide grooves contained on the Philadelphia International Classics: The Tom Moulton Remixes - Special Vinyl Edition box set are so good that I've listened to little else at home in the two weeks that I've had it. The sheer luxury and quality of this release demands extra vigilance for sweeping statements that bear an uncanny resemblance to things that either Swiss Tony or Alan Partridge might say. (In fact, I've just had to excise a description of the extended version of 'Love Train' by The O'Jays as being like a deep bath - "We're down to the final lather... just relax... there's a foamy bit on your shoulder - let's make it even more frothy with a squirt of light lemon liquid.")" John Doran

Click here to read our review
Buy on vinyl or CD from Norman Records

27. The Fall - The Frenz Experiment/I Am Kurious Oranj/Hit The North/Singles 1987-1989/Seminal Live box set
(Beggars)

"It's five albums from The Fall. In one box. Of course we like it." The Quietus



26. Mark Ernestus Presents Jeri-Jeri - 800% Ndagga/Ndagga Versions
(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 Jeri-Jeri's 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 breaking a sweat." Rory Gibb

25. Can - Vinyl Box
(Mute)

"Living and working together was the point; the strengths of five individuals merged to create something greater, something uncontainable. It's maybe a bit naïve to think that this ideal - the band as a cell, decrypting codes and forcing doors, not so much jamming as un-jamming - could be recaptured, here and now. These days, with the creation and, to a great extent, the consumption of music reflecting the conditions of late capitalism - atomisation, anomie - Can's collective action feels like a nagging dream, something drifting in from another time, from the long-forgotten fringes of the libertarian Left. The communal, the collective, the sense of musicians as cogs in a machine... it's barely a factor in rock music now, let alone the avant-garde. Everyone's too busy, or else intent on expressing their own worldview, their own confusion, their own longing for something beyond their own problems, their own self." Taylor Parkes



24. 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 than a lot of current experimental music." Rory Gibb

Buy on vinyl or CD from Norman Records

23. Various – Feral Grind
(Perc Trax)

"One of the most bracing 12"s of 2013 was Perc's reworking of early Einstürzende Neubauten tracks, in which he updated their scrapyard caterwauling with contemporary violence from the further reaches of techno. It was the debut release from Submit, the new sublabel of Perc Trax that promises to showcase Ali Wells' grubbier tastes. They're well represented on this excellent debut compilation, twelve tracks that range from Housefire's hydroelectric turbine rumble, Prostitutes' strident and seedy 'Braces On My Fangs', Pete Swanson cranking the lo-fi and treble up to eleven, Profligate's chaotic 'Swarm', and Hive Mind's 2000-volts-down-your-bellend thrum." Luke Turner



22. 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

21. 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

Click here to listen to the mix

20. Various - Trevor Jackson Presents Metal Dance 2
(Strut)

"Loop that beat. Apply the filter. Cut. Rewind. Turn it up and start again. If DJ/producer/graphic designer Trevor Jackson's first Metal Dance collection, released last year, re-introduced today's club kids to such important early electronic artists as Cabaret Voltaire, Nitzer Ebb, 23 Skidoo and, yes, Alien Sex Fiend, then Metal Dance 2 goes deeper and darker. For though a couple of names recur - Italian darkwave cultists Neon, and 400 Blows, albeit in a mixing capacity - Metal Dance 2 is far from a re-tread of the previous compilation's territory. As before, two CDs give you a brilliant night's worth of hard-edged, unsentimental dance music. But what you also get here is a beat-driven alternative history of the 1980s' cultural landscape." Ben Graham



19. Arthur Russell - Another Thought
(Arc Light Editions)

"Another Thought was originally released posthumously, and gathered together a series of demos and recordings Arthur Russell had been working on prior to his death in 1992. More intimate in tone than the disco Russell's generally known for, it's a lovely, moving set of songs, available here via Arc Light Editions (a new label curated by The Wire's Jennifer Lucy Allan) for the first time on vinyl and subtly remastered. A quiet gem, and one I've found myself repeatedly returning to since its autumn release." Rory Gibb



18. Various - Halha: 20 Years Of Downwards
(Downwards)

"Twenty years into its existence, in cultural terms it's tempting to view Downwards as some decrepit outer borough station, just off that central British line of visceral artistic belligerence – Peter Cook to Alan Clarke, Throbbing Gristle to Derek Jarman, old Soho to the Industrial West Midlands - sharing their decadence, antagonism and willingness to explore the strangeness of what lies underneath the institutions of social normality and control. The tropes explored by Downwards have always pointed toward a bleak landscape of England, remote viewed and filtered by way of O'Connor's idiosyncratic vision, which is frequently sinister - exploring domesticity, control, sex, subordination, boredom - but often surreal and darkly funny too. Just look at the cover art and the track titles, and draw your own conclusions." Harry Sword



17. Various - London Is The Place For Me Vol 5&6
(Honest Jon's)

"This is 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



16. Rob - Maniac OST
(Death Waltz)

"While it's not the be all and end all, the care and attention paid to the packaging and presentation of Death Waltz vinyl has pretty much put them in a field all of their own. Label boss Spencer Hickman's project of fantasy fulfilment - as a huge fan of horror films, a hoarder of memorabilia and a record collector - has led to some great reissues of classic horror scores and the release of some fine first issue originals all housed in the best vinyl packaging out there. Of course, none of this would mean anything if the music was poor, but they really haven't put a foot wrong so far. Rob, a French synthesiser artist influenced by Tangerine Dream and John Carpenter has created the perfect soundtrack for Franck Khalfoun's chilly but enjoyable remake of the 80s VHS slasher favourite." John Doran

15. Mogwai - Les Revenants
(Rock Action)

"The suspense of waiting for the unholy sonic assault with which Mogwai have made their name and it never actually materialising makes this a truly tense listening experience, which in turn also makes it the perfect soundtrack to Les Revenants, a French TV series about zombies. Zombies, you see, are a bit shit really – they can't, or shouldn't be able to, run very fast and are pretty easy to kill (as anyone who has watched small kids in various zombie flicks and TV series over the years effortlessly despatching the undead with biros and twigs and the like), so the tension needs to come from elsewhere. The threat that there might be an army of them waiting around the corner and what that might entail – that's the really scary bit, and Mogwai recreate that fearful sense of dread by holding back on what they do best." Joe Clay



14. Tantra - The Collection
(Disco Recharge)

"As Alan Jones' sleevenotes explain, “in a period when casual musical observers never recognised disco to begin with and thought it was already dead, Celso Valli reconfigured the parameters once more.” Out there space disco from one of the true pioneers." Andy Thomas

Click here to read our review
Buy on vinyl or CD from Norman Records

13. Mainliner - Mellow Out
(Riot Season)

"Mainliner were a mid 90s Japanese rock trio whose crushing heaviness suggested a transformer that assembled itself from JCB diggers, cruise ship anchors and industrial skips, featuring members of Acid Mothers Temple and High Rise. This disgusting slab of distorted filth, comprised of one throwaway track and two monstrously long and intense jams, is as much a treat for noise fans as it is for fans of heavy freak out metal psych." John Doran



12. Various - The Outer Church
(Front & Follow)

"Since 2009 The Outer Church, curated by sometime Quietus writer Joe Stannard, has booked many of these musicians and more for its regular Brighton sessions. This first compilation draws together tracks from 28 artists who've played there across the last few years, everyone from Baron Mordant and Vindicatrix to Kemper Norton, Glasgow's Broken20 label collective, Ghosts Of Bush maker Robin The Fog and shadowy London crew Old Apparatus. It's a pretty stunning collection of work, with its 28 tracks offering a roadmap of the uncanny paths trodden by the UK's esoteric electronic music community in recent years, via forays through folk-leaning forms, windswept moorland and deserted beaches, grubby clubs in railway arches and ancient burial sites." Rory Gibb



11. Livity Sound - Livity Sound
(Livity Sound)

"The Livity Sound trio all cut their teeth in the Bristol [dubstep] scene, and their take on techno - now gathered on CD and digitally as the Livity Sound compilation - trips through restless, steely and exploratory mid-tempo zones, the kind of place that the city's strand of the genre would likely always have ended up. The connection is most obvious in Livity's continued focus on sound system impact. Each of the eighteen tracks gathered on Livity Sound absolutely wrecks on a big rig, ripping ragged from the speakers, turning small basement rooms into packed, humming resonance chambers and settling teeth and viscera rattling." Rory Gibb



10. Galcher Lustwerk - 100% Galcher
(Blowing Up The Workshop free DL)

"An extended mixtape put together for sometime Quietus writer Matthew Kent's Blowing Up The Workshop series, 100% Galcher took the world on a nocturnal tryst with New York's Galcher Lustwerk, and stealthily reached cult classic status across 2013. It gathers an hour of his own, almost entirely unreleased music, and has almost certainly been my most played piece of music this entire year. Quite what makes 100% Galcher so damn near perfect is tough to pin down; his smoky deep house coasts along city streets amid silvery slipstreams of hi-hats and chords that drift and dissipate like steam on a hot summer's night. This music is primarily about atmosphere, an all-encompassing mood of twilight mischief, heavy-lidded slow dancing, weedsmoke, rum and the perceptual flicker of hallucinogens, with streetlights overhead blurring into long, glowing arcs as you roll by. It helps, of course, that Lustwerk's got swagger to spare, but doesn't overuse it. He doesn't have to: his half-spoken, half-rapped narrations quietly set the scene with a knowing half-smile, while you're busy being swept along in his music's unending serotonin blush. Galcher makes it all seem effortless." Rory Gibb

Click here to stream and download the 100% Galcher mixtape

9. F.C. Judd - 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



8. Cabaret Voltaire - #8385 (Collected Works 1983-1985)
(Mute)

"If the continuing relevance of this material was never seriously in doubt, in resurrecting a swathe of Cabs material that had unfairly languished in obscurity for far too long, Mute have done a service in recovering an important transitional period for the group and for dance music in general [...] There is still much to be learned from Cabaret Voltaire's diverse, agile, and quick-footed work from this era." Albert Freeman



7. Broadcast - Berberian Sound Studio OST
(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



6. William Onyeabor – World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who Is William Onyeabor?
(Luaka Bop)

"Who is William Onyeabor? is a surprising - yet camp - African reinterpretation of funk and disco, meant for our bodies and souls. While the influence of West African juju music is definitely perceptible, his experimentations with analog synths and drum machines recall Giorgio Moroder's futurist disco, rather than Parliament Funkadelic. The longer tracks boast multiple variations and peregrinations – not unlike those of Onyeabor's contemporary, Afrobeat creator Fela Kuti, and reveal a man who certainly spent thousands of hours in his workshop carefully weaving crazy rhythms and sound effects with the several Moog synths that can be seen on the cover of his last album, Anything You Sow." Jean Marcel Maillard



5. Perc - Mix For Boiler Room
(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 chopping-block remix of Dan Avery's 'Reception', one of the Quietus office's favourite tracks of the year, which goes off like a grenade around the 40 minute mark." Rory Gibb


4. Various – 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



3. British Sea Power - From The Sea To The Land Beyond
(Rough Trade)

"This soundtrack is more than a response to landscape and history alone. What's so striking about director Penny Woolcock's selection of footage is the very human, un-sentimental narrative she weaves. The stars of the film are not the miles of beautiful scenery or the waves gnawing and scouring away at the coastline, but the women and men who stare, fascinated and mute in the early years of the 20th century, knowing and exhibitionist in the later, into the lens of the camera. It's their memory, and spirit, that British Sea Power celebrate here. Of course, most of the faces, smiling from history at this novel new invention, are now dead. Yes, this film does remind us of things we've lost - a shipbuilding industry, a healthy disregard for health and safety, proper attire on the day-to-day, mass European conflict - but it has nothing to do with dewy-eyed nostalgia. Instead, From The Sea To The Land Beyond (whether encountered with or without the moving image) is a potent and poetic exploration of our own human mortality in contrast with the unyielding permanence of nature and the sea." Luke Turner



2. Simon Fisher Turner - The Epic Of Everest
(Mute)

"On its own merits, The Epic Of Everest is a remarkable exercise in ambient aurora, a gloriously slow awakening of an electronic dawn. The album could easily be tagged as a polar cousin to the KLF's Chill Out, with its similar usage of delicate waves of sound, punctuated by brief fragments of conversation, the braying of Tibetan llamas and E-Bow guitar yawning and seeping through the sunlight. The album is divided into sixteen tracks but is best experienced as an unadulterated whole, an expansive and complex exercise in glorious ambient electronica with these very parameters stretching out into infinity." Colm McAuliffe



1. Various - Kenya Special: Selected East African Recordings From The 1970s & 80s
(Soundway)

"Whether you use it as a history lesson, as background, for dancing, or for deep listening, this is brilliant music. Every track is an undoubted classic, and every track has something to make it stand out. These guys were way cooler than you are, or ever will be (just look at DK Mwai on the album's front cover) and what's more, the melting pot of post-British Kenya was seemingly prime for making raw beats and recordings that arguably overshadow their more popular West African counterparts. This is a piece of popular music history worth re-examining, and the mission to grace a new generation or ears with this music is a worthwhile one. Kenya Special's 32 tracks are as awe inspiringly catchy, groovy and colourful in 2013 as they were three decades ago, and the impeccable and loving production of the compilation does its very best and does nothing but add to them." Tristan Bath



  1. Various - Kenya Special: Selected East African Recordings From The 1970s & 80s (Soundway)
  2. Simon Fisher Turner - The Epic Of Everest (Mute)
  3. British Sea Power - From The Sea To The Land Beyond (Rough Trade)
  4. Various – Dabke: Sounds Of The Syrian Houran (Sham Palace)
  5. Perc - Mix For Boiler Room (Boiler Room)
  6. William Onyeabor – World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who Is William Onyeabor? (Luaka Bop)
  7. Broadcast - Berberian Sound Studio OST (Warp)
  8. Cabaret Voltaire - #8385 (Collected Works 1983-1985) (Mute)
  9. F.C. Judd - Interpretations On F.C. Judd (Public Information)
  10. Galcher Lustwerk - 100% Galcher (Blowing Up The Workshop free DL)
  11. Livity Sound - Livity Sound (Livity Sound)
  12. Various- The Outer Church (Front & Follow)
  13. Mainliner - Mellow Out (Riot Season)
  14. Tantra - The Collection (Disco Recharge)
  15. Mogwai - Les Revenants (Rock Action)
  16. Rob - Maniac OST (Death Waltz)
  17. Various - London Is The Place For Me Vol 5&6 (Honest Jon's)
  18. Various - Halha: 20 Years Of Downwards (Downwards)
  19. Arthur Russell - Another Thought (Arc Light Editions)
  20. Various - Trevor Jackson Presents Metal Dance 2 (Strut)
  21. Cairo Liberation Front - Electro Chaabi For Avant Garde Lovers (Quietus Mix)
  22. Mark Gergis - I Remember Syria (Sublime Frequencies)
  23. Various – Feral Grind (Perc Trax)
  24. Iannis Xenakis - GRM Works 1957-62 (Recollections GRM)
  25. Can - Vinyl Box (Mute)
  26. Mark Ernestus Presents Jeri Jeri - 800% Ndagga/Ndagga Versions (Ndagga)
  27. The Fall - The Frenz Experiment/I Am Kurious Oranj/Hit The North/Singles 1987-1989/ Seminal Live box set (Beggars Banquet)
  28. Various - Philadelphia International Classics: The Tom Moulton Remixes (Harmless)
  29. Laurel Halo - Mix For XLR8R (free DL)
  30. Loop – Fade Out (Reactor)
  31. Fluxion - Vibrant Forms (Type)
  32. Nath & Martin Brothers - Money (Voodoo Funk)
  33. Bok Bok - Mix For Resident Advisor (free DL)
  34. Patrick Cowley - School Daze (Dark Entries)
  35. T.R.A.S.E. - Tape Recorder And Synthesizer Ensemble (Finders Keepers)
  36. Ben UFO - Essential Mix (broadcast on BBC Radio 1)
  37. Dickon Hinchliffe - Red Riding: In The Year Of Our Lord 1980 (Blackest Ever Black)
  38. Various - Sorrow Come Pass Me Around: A Survey Of Rural Black Religious Music (Dust To Digital)
  39. DJ Sprinkles - Queerification & Ruins (Mule Musiq)
  40. Cabaret Voltaire - Red Mecca (Mute)
  41. Suede – The Vinyl Box Set (Edsel)
  42. Sadat And Alaa Fifty Cent - The Best Of Sadat & Alaa Fifty Cent (Generation Bass)
  43. Various - Choubi Choubi 2: Folk & Pop Sounds From Iraq (Sublime Frequencies)
  44. Various - This Is How We Roll (Keysound)
  45. Beneath - Mix for Hessle Audio, Rinse FM
  46. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Live From KCRW (Bad Seed Ltd)
  47. Cornershop - The Hot For May Sound (Burger Records) / Snap Yr Cookies (Ample Play)
  48. Lee Gamble – Your Sociometric Afterlife (Secret Thirteen, free DL)
  49. Sandwell District – Fabric 69 (Fabric)
  50. Bolt Thrower - In Battle There Is No Law (Back On Black)
  51. Various - Stand Up, People: Gypsy Pop Songs From Tito's Yugoslavia 1964-1980 (Asphalt Tango)
  52. Various - Traxbox (Harmless)
  53. Ennio Morricone - Morricone In Colour (Cherry Red)
  54. Various - Celluloid: Change The Beat: The Celluloid Records Story 1979–1987 (Strut)
  55. Various - Eglo Records Vol. 1 (Eglo)
  56. Imaginary Forces - Psychedelic Entropy (Quietus Mix)
  57. Gherkin Jerks - Alleviated Presents Gherkin Jerks (Alleviated)
  58. Primus - Sailing The Seas Of Cheese (UMC)
  59. Kode9 - Rinse 22 (Rinse)
  60. Various - Grime 2.0 (Big Dada)
  61. Various - Who's That Man? A Tribute To Conny Plank (Gronland)
  62. Dark - Round The Edges (Light In The Attic)
  63. Robbie Basho - Visions Of The Country (Gnome Life)
  64. Various - Deutsche Elektronische Musik 2: Experimental German Rock And Electronic Music 1972-83 (Soul Jazz)
  65. Hawkwind - Space Ritual (EMI)
  66. Various - Mutazione: Italian Electronic & New Wave Underground 1980 - 1988 (Strut)
  67. Various - New Orleans Funk Volume 3 (Soul Jazz)
  68. Rodion G.A. - The Lost Tapes (Strut)
  69. Godflesh - Godflesh, Selfless, Us And Them box set (Earache)
  70. Skullflower - Kino I-IV (Shock)
  71. Songs:Ohia - Magnolia Electric Co. (Secretly Canadian)
  72. World Of Twist – Quality Street: Expanded Edition (Loop)
  73. The Butthole Surfers – Rembrandt Pussyhorse (Latino Bugger Veil)
  74. Edvard Artemiev – Solaris OST (Mirumir)
  75. Blancmange – Irene & Mavis (Minimal Tape)

J M
Dec 17, 2013 12:59pm

Surprised to see Swans' Not Here/ Not Now and the Soul Jazz Punk 45: Kill the Hippies! releases omitted. Still, great to see British Sea Power, Mogwai, Livity Sound and Perc garner their rightful places, although that's hardly surprising given your impeccable judgement on their music anyway.

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Jon
Dec 17, 2013 1:41pm

No Dylan Bootleg Series huh?

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Daveid P
Dec 17, 2013 2:58pm

OK stop now, this is costing me an arm and a leg...

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Luke
Dec 17, 2013 4:51pm

Some omissions:

Hailu Mergia and his Classical Instrument
L.I.E.S Presents Music for Shut-Ins
I Am The Centre: Private Issue New Age in America 1950-1990
Kill Yourself Dancing: The Story of Sunset Records 1985-89
S/H - Steve Hauschildt
Explorer and Yellow Power - Tony Carey
Getting the Holy Ghost Across - Bill Nelson

My favourite mix of the year was Dance System - Workout Module 001. The best high-BPM ghetto house mix I've heard in a while. Although there was a good one from Supraman as well. Also, Omar S's XLR8R mix and Bok Bok's Fademix003.

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Dec 17, 2013 4:52pm

OK...another 'Wot no....etc' posting...but seriously....WOT NO Psychemagik Presents - Magik Sunrise?

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Dec 17, 2013 4:54pm

For further investigation of Psychemagik Presents:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iaf97nsmnMU

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Dec 17, 2013 5:33pm

Assault on Precinct 13 has been rereleased by Death Waltz....surely that deserves a place?

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John Doran
Dec 17, 2013 8:20pm

In reply to :

It's good but I prefer Maniac.

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Spacious
Dec 17, 2013 9:02pm

Thanks for the glorious list! I would like to second Luke's recommendation of "I Am The Center", Light In The Attic's very entertaining New Age music compilation. The dirty secret of much in the way of esoteric contemporary electronic music is how much of it has its roots in video game music and the benighted New Age genre. Turns out it's not all just watered-down Tangerine Dream or failures to comprehend Eno.

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Klem
Dec 17, 2013 9:18pm

"There's A Dream I've Been Saving: Lee Hazlewood Industries 1966-1971" was a pretty impressive set if you ask me.

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Dec 17, 2013 9:57pm

The 100% Galcher mix is amazing...love that....Resident Advisor went the same way. I prefer the Assault On Precinct 13 soundtrack too (over Maniac)...'Julie' from Assault on Precinct 13 is one of my favourite pieces of music; very short, but perfect.

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scooper
Dec 17, 2013 10:18pm

for my money, that would be 'the ivth crusade,' but i'll take all of 'em!

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Prole
Dec 17, 2013 10:46pm

The Alberich and Lussaria mixes from the Blowing Up The Workshop series are also amazing but the one mix that got me this year (apart from the Perc Boiler Room) was the DBIAPB & Marcel Heese 20 Years Of Downwards Records mix for EE.

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Aaron C
Dec 18, 2013 2:50am

Great list, a satisfying mix of music that's made 2013 much more enjoyable (William Onyeabor, Cabaret Voltaire, Robbie Basho, Arthur Russell etc) and intriguing-sounding stuff I've completely missed so far (Galcher Lustwerk, Dabke, Perc and on). I also agree with some of the omissions mentioned by Luke (e.g. I Am the Centre, Hailu Mergia) and would add the Half Japanese 3-LP box set, Damon's Song of a Gypsy 2LP vinyl reissue, Martin Rev's self-titled, Craig Leon's Nommos, and particularly Venom P. Stinger's 2CD anthology on Drag City.

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Luke
Dec 18, 2013 6:55am

I'll second Nommos, although Craig Leon is releasing his own rerecorded version, as well as his subsequent album Visiting in February. Some I forgot earlier:

Drexciya - Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller III & IV
Cosmic Machine: A Voyage Across French Cosmic and Electronic Avantgarde 1970-1980
Saada Bonaire
Mamiko Motto Presents Amada

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Bornin69
Dec 18, 2013 7:52am

As in previous years, probably a more interesting list than the main albums one. One omission for me is the vinyl reissue of All Hail West Texas by Mountain Goats.

I was expecting White Label Classics by Ruff Sqwad to be no 1 and was stunned when it wasn't on the list. Then I checked and found it came ou in December 2012.

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mrg
Dec 18, 2013 9:36am

As much as I don't want to be mr 'can't believe you left out...', my year was pretty much made by the reissuing of almost all of Cardiacs' extraordinary and wonderful back catalogue, which had been unavailable for years unless you were willing to pay silly money on eBay.

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Christopher Queen
Dec 18, 2013 12:52pm

any chance of another spotify playlist? I've been playing the best albums one almost constantly...

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essjaycats
Dec 18, 2013 1:38pm

Would probably add I Like Trains 'Progress/Reform' to this, but another great load of stuff to satiate my ears with over Christmas!

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Stephen
Dec 20, 2013 12:27am

Surprised at the omission of Numero Group's Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound compilation, which is beyond excellent.

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