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The 40 Best Reissues of 2010

Written by FACT Team on Monday, November 29 2010

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40: THE SOFT BOYS
UNDERWATER MOONLIGHT
(YEP ROC)


‘I Wanna Destroy You’

The missing link between 60s psyche-pop, 70s punk and 80s new wave, Underwater Moonlight is inexhaustible. This Yep Roc edition isn’t as comprehensive or as revelatory as Matador’s from ten years back, but nonetheless it’s great to have the album available on vinyl album again and an excuse to marvel all over again at Robyn Hitchcock’s proto-punk snottiness and Kimberley Rew’s incendiary guitar-playing.


39: FUTURISK
PLAYER PIANO EP
(MINIMAL WAVE)


‘Push Me, Pull You (Part Two)’

Bringing together elements of electro-pop, punk and minimal synth, Futurisk’s sound was heavy and propulsive, with layered drums (both live and synthesized, recorded in a bathroom for maximum resonance), grinding guitar and mannered vocals from Jeremy Kolosine in the vein of Bowie, Ferry and Fox. This is a reissue of their hitherto impossible-to-track-down 1980 EP Player Piano, which happens to be one of James Murphy’s favourite records.


38: ANTENA
CAMINO DEL SOL
(NUMERO GROUP)


‘Camino Del Sol’

Long treasured by the Balearic crowd, Isabelle Antena’s impossibly sleepy-eyed, bossa-infused post-punk wonder seems to get even better with age, and deserves to be considered as more than a mere cult curio today. This heavyweight “library” vinyl edition from the Numero Group is definitive, adding a wealth of bonus tracks and restoring Benoit Hennebert’s original sleeve art.


37: QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE
RATED: R (DELUXE EDITION)
(INTERSCOPE)


‘In The Fade’

Fantastic modern rock record, capturing Josh Homme et al at the perfect meeting point between the echo-heavy desert rock of former band Kyuss and the poppier sound they went on to pursue as QOTSA. Hasn’t aged one bit since its release 10 years ago, and is reissued here with live bonus disc.


36: NEUROSIS
GRACE / TIMES OF GRACE
(NEUROT)


‘Under The Surface’

Neurosis don’t get the credit they deserve in some circles, which is ludicrous – their modernisation of Black Sabbath’s doom metal template in the ’90s not only led to some of the greatest rock music of all time, but opened the gates for Isis, Electric Wizard, Pelican and the rest of the next decade’s ‘post-metal’ brigade to flood on in. Times of Grace is the first album they recorded with Steve Albini (and arguably, their last truly great album), designed to be played in sync with Grace, an ambient record by sister band Tribes of Neurot. This reissue represents the first time the set has been released as one.


35: REEL BY REAL
20 YEARS SURKIT

[A.R.T.less]


‘Surkit 1990 (Original Version)’

Overlooked Detroit techno classic from Marty ‘Reel by Real’ Bonds, released on limited white label in 1990 and this year reissued with additional material, including collaborations with fellow space cadets Antony ‘Shake’ Shakir and Juan Atkins.


34: DESMOND SIMMONS
ALONE ON PENGUIN ISLAND
(ROUGH TRADE CUTS)


‘To Be Lost’

A tense, conflicted work, Alone On Penguin Island isn’t quite the post-punk holy grail that some would have you believe, but it’s certainly a fascinating oddity. Simmons wasn’t too happy with the way the album turned out, feeling his songs weren’t well served by the minimalist production work of Dome (Wire’s Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis), but surely he’d acknowledge now that the sinister, synth-daubed ‘To Be Lost’, to take but one example, benefits hugely from Lewis and Gilbert’s deft touch.


33: REGIS & FEMALE
AGAINST NATURE (11 RECLAIMED FRAGMENTS)
(DOWNWARDS)


‘Meat’

Originally released on Tresor and credited to the artists’ real names (Karl O’Connor and Peter Sutton), Against Nature is UK techno at its most uncompromising, and this reissue on O’Connor’s own Downwards label restores the tracks to the sequence that was originally intended. Though dominated by fearsome club tracks, the beatless sections are of particular interest, making explicit the duo’s debt to TG, Cabaret Voltaire, Factory Records and the 80s synth wave.


32: ROLLING STONES
EXILE ON MAIN STREET

(POLYDOR)


‘Rocks Off’

The greatest rock ‘n roll album ever made.


31: IGGY & THE STOOGES
RAW POWER
(MUSIC ON VINYL)


‘Raw Power’

Actually, sorry, this is the greatest rock ‘n roll album ever made.

30: CHRIS & COSEY
HEARTBEAT / TRANCE
(CONSPIRACY INTERNATIONAL)

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‘Heartbeat’

2010 saw Chris & Cosey re-enter the underground consciousness in a big way, and the reissue of their first two albums couldn’t have been better timed. Picking up where TG’s ‘Hot On The Heels Of Love’ left off, Heartbeat finds ’em channelling Euro-disco, electro-pop and krautrock influences into the most seductive yet chilling industrial music imaginable.


29: LOU REED
METAL MACHINE MUSIC
(SISTER RAY)

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‘Metal Machine Music (excerpt)’

To call it the first ever noise record – as some do – is to flatter it, but what can’t be disputed is that Metal Machine Music is hands-down one of the strangest and crankiest records ever to be issued by a “mainstream” artist in his prime. Considered a joke by the rock world upon its original release in 1975, the atonal, feedback-driven MMM‘s stock has grown and grown in the intervening years, and rightly so; it’s a record as exhilarating as it is unpleasant, as this DVD remaster on Reed’s own Sister Ray label affirms.


28: NAGAMATZU
SACRED ISLANDS OF THE MAD

(DARK ENTRIES)

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‘Carmine’

The DIY synth boom of the 80s – cold wave, minimal wave, call it what you will – has yielded more noteworthy reissues than any other genres in 2010, in part because so many key records of the era were originally released only in very meager quantities, and often only on cassette. Veronica Vasicka’s Minimal Wave label is at the forefront of this culture, but Dark Entries and Italy’s Mannequin Mailorder are respectfully clipping at its heels. Sacred Islands of The Mad was first recommended to us last year by Jam City; originally released on cassette in 1986, a physical copy was impossible to get hold of, and we resigned ourselves to making do with the low-res mp3 rip we found online. Then along came Dark Entries, making the album available on vinyl for the first time in an eye-wateringly lavish edition complete with newsprint zine full of flyers, gig tickets, ads and photos. This is what reissues ought to be about.


27: GALAXIE 500
TODAY/ON FIRE/THIS IS OUR MUSIC
(DOMINO)

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‘On The Sofa 1987′

Dream-pop legends got the comprehensive reissue treatment from Domino this year, complete with out-of-print live album, Peel Sessions CD and career-spanning rarities disc from ’96.


26: MANDRE
MANDRE 4
(RUSH HOUR)

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‘Magic Woman’

Unique boogie-funk-meets-space-disco classic that commanded ridiculous prices until the wonderful Rush Hour got hold of the rights and pressed up this transparent 12″. Apparently Daft Punk and Lindstrom are big fans.


25: GLENN BRANCA
THE ASCENSION
(FORTISSIMO)

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‘The Ascension Pt.1′

One of the finest records to come out of early 80s New York’s obscenely fertile art and music scene, The Ascension is the perfect fusion of no wave guitar fury and “classical” minimalism, and it continues to exercise a powerful hold over the avant-rock imagination (not for nothing is Robert Longo’s cover art referenced in that of LCD Soundsystem’s This Is Happening).


24: SURGEON
FORCE + FORM
(TRESOR)

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‘Black Jackal Throwbacks (part 1)’

For his fourth – and arguably best – artist album, Surgeon pushed his sound in several different directions without disturbing its industrial roots. On the majestic ‘At The Heart Of It All’ and ‘Black Jackal Throwbacks’ he pursued a more melodic, sinewy production style informed by Detroit techno and the inward-looking electronics of Autechre, and ‘Returning To The Purity Of Current’ saw him perfect the kind of mantra-like, Latin-spiced rhythm that had characterised most of his memorable singles of the era. With each track clocking in at around 10 minutes and riddled with well-judged interludes and intrusions – whining synth noise, tense Spanish chatter, mobile phone interference, what sounds like Regis rambling into an answerphone – this is a work of epic scope, and moreover one with a narrative intelligence and drive all too rare in dance music LPs.


23: DAPHNE ORAM
ORAMICS
(YOUNG AMERICANS)

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‘Snow’

Co-founder of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Daphne Oram’s contibution to the British wing of electronic music innovation is arguably more impressive than that of her better known contemporary Delia Derbyshire. Young Americans’ lovingly presented 4xLP, 44-track vinyl version of the 2007 Paradigm Discs compilation certainly makes a convincing case.


22: G STRINGS
‘THE LAND OF DREAMS’
(SEVENTH SIGN)

Props to Glasgow’s Seventh Sign for another revelatory reissue (following last year’s Terence Parker’s Tribute To Ken Collier EP). This is one of only two releases on short-lived Chicago label G Strings, epic Chicago house-going-on-techno in the style of Ron Trent.


21: CHROMATICS
NIGHT DRIVE
(ITALIANS DO IT BETTER)

The best album ever to come out of the Italians Do It Better camp, Night Drive finally made its debut on vinyl this year with a neat update of the original’s fabulous cover art. Johnny Jewel’s chilly electronics and Ruth Radelet’s despondent vocals are inevitably the main players in this minimalist disco noir, but what makes it great, and unlike anything else on IDIB or anywhere else for that matter, are Adam Miller’s eerie, spidery guitar lines.

20: GODFLESH
STREETCLEANER

(EARACHE)

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‘Like Rats’

Extensively annotated double-CD reissue of one of the angriest, heaviest records in Christendom. A massive influence on Shackleton, The Bug and many more besides, and in its own way, the Midlands’ very own It Takes a Nation of Millions. Well, sort of.


19: DOPPLEREFFEKT
GESAMTKUNSTWERK
(CLONE CLASSIC CUTS)

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‘Porno Actress’

The return of the coldest, baddest electro album of them all. The story goes that International Deejay Gigolos were given this album to release after Gerald Donald wrote off label boss DJ Hell’s BMW and had no other way to pay him back. True or not, the music itself ended up being profoundly influential on the nascent electroclash movement, but don’t let that put you off: Gesamtkunstwerk lives up to its title, strengthened, not weakened, by its myriad allusions to porno actresses, eugenics, sex with mannequins and totalitarian power.


18: FENNESZ
ENDLESS SUMMER
(EDITIONS MEGO)

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‘Endless Summer’

The Austrian artist’s breakthrough album and still his best, Endless Summer has been reissued several times on CD, but this is the first time it’s been pressed on vinyl in almost a decade, with two tracks previously only available on the Japanese CD version and an extended version of ‘Happy Audio’.


17: JOHN FOXX
THE COMPLETE CATHEDRAL OCEANS
(EDSEL)

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‘Oceanic’

Think of John Foxx and one tends to think of his stark, Crash-referencing synth-pop masterpiece Metamatic. Less well known is his ambient work, the pinnacle of which is the Cathedral Oceans trilogy: a psychogeographic meditation equally informed by his Catholic upbringing and the underwater London of Ballard’s The Drowned World.


16: JD EMMANUEL
WIZARDS
(IMPORTANT RECORDS)

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‘Attaining Peace’

A private press obscurity occupying the middle ground between Klaus Schulze-style kosmische and new age pastoralism, JD Emmanuel’s delightful Wizards feels all the more prescient in light of the similarly inclined recent work of Emeralds, Oneohtrix et al.


15: COCTEAU TWINS
BOX SET 1
(VINYL 180)

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‘Garlands’

Simply some of the most haunting, not to mention influential music of all time rehoused to look more beautiful than ever.


14: SERGE GAINSBOURG & JANE BIRKIN
JE T’AIME…MOI, NON PLUS

(LIGHT IN THE ATTIC)

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‘Je T’Aime’

One of the sexiest and strangest records ever made, by one of the most unlikely couples in the history of men and women, presented in its definitive edition by Light In The Attic. Mange tout, Rodney, mange tout.


13: THOMAS KÖNER
NUNATAK / TEIMO / PERMAFROST
(TYPE)

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‘Nival’

Thomas Koner’s grievously honed style – an immersive, often oppressive blend of techno, ambient, field recordings and power electronics – has been aped a million times by lesser artists, but never bettered.


12: SMITH & MIGHTY
‘B-LINE FI BLOW’
(PUNCH DRUNK UNEARTHED)

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‘B-Line fi Blow’

If you needed proof of Punch Drunk’s status as a gatekeeper of Bristol soundsystem culture, then Punch Drunk Unearthed, their reissue label, is it. This re-release of RSD-produced garage roller ‘B-Line Fi Blow’ made the link between the city’s rich reggae/junglist/breakbeat past and its hyperactive dubstep present more concrete (or, indeed, acetate) than ever. It might seem odd to have such a rude club single rubbing shoulders with NEU! and Cocteau Twins in the upper echelons of this list but, hell, that’s how much we love it.


11: NEU!
NEU! VINYL BOX
(GRONLAND)

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‘Hallogallo’

Brilliant box set retrospective featuring the albums NEU!, NEU! 2, NEU! ’75 and, appearing officially for the first time, NEU! ’86, as well as NEU! ’72, a previously unreleased live maxi-single that clocks in at just under 18 minutes. All the NEU! you will ever need, basically.

10: JEFF PHELPS
MAGNETIC EYES
(TOMLAB)

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‘On the Corner’

First issued in a run of 1000 copies in 1985, Magnetic Eyes has become the stuff of diggers’ legend, more recently hailed as a work of electro-soul genius by Dam-Funk and Nite Jewel. It certainly lives up to the hype, Phelps’ rugged drum machine and synth arrangements providing the rough while teenager singer Antoinette Marie Pugh ladles on the smooth.


09: DIETER MOEBIUS
TONSPUREN
(BUREAU B)

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‘Hasenheide’

Dieter Moebius’s Tonspuren was a favourite long before Bureau B reissued it (along with virtually everything ever made by he and his Cluster partner Hans-Joachim Roedelius) this year, but it’s great to have it readily available on vinyl again. The opening sequence of dainty synth miniatures, so blithely innocent as to be almost sinister, must have strongly influenced Ghost Box’s Belbury Poly, and the album gets darker and less predictable as it goes on, the pastoral whimsy giving way completely to sickly sweet dissonance on ‘Etwas’, eldritch cackles on ‘Furbo’ and droning, panning proto-techno on ‘B 36′.


08: CHARANJIT SINGH
SYNTHESIZING: 10 RAGAS TO A DISCO BEAT
(BOMBAY CONNECTION)

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‘Raga Lalit’

Was acid house born in India? That was certainly Bombay Connection’s contention when they unearthed and repackaged this absurdly rare album of hypnotic 4/4 grooves made with a 303, 808 and Jupiter-8 by Bollywood soundtrack genius Charanjit Singh in nineteen-eighty-two. It’s not often that a reissue comes along and completely destroys your sense of historical narrative, but 10 Ragas To A Disco Beat did exactly that.


07: DAVID BOWIE
STATION TO STATION: DELUXE EDITION
(EMI)

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‘Station to Station’

Written and recorded at the height of his death-defying coke addiction, Station To Station was the immediate precursor to the sombre, minimalist majesty of the Berlin trilogy (Low, “Heroes”, Lodger); Young Americans‘ slick funk beginning to give way to more austere, Teutonic textures inspired by Kraftwerk and NEU!. The album was co-produced by Bowie and Harry Maslin at LA’s Cherokee Studios; asked about his host city at the time, an increasingly paranoid, occult-dabbling Bowie suggested that “the fucking place should be wiped off the face of the earth”. The epic title track is as high as a kite, one of the most uplifting, energetic pop songs of all time, but its sporadic intimations of the hangover to come are terrifying.


06: DADAWAH
PEACE & LOVE
(DUG OUT)

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‘Zion Land’

Though a prime example of nyabinghi (Rastafarian devotional music), Dadawah’s Peace And Love – originally released on Wild Flower in 1974- is no regular jah-praising platter. Rather it’s as bottomless and revelatory as an acid trip (but without the paranoia); in Dug Out’s estimation, it’s the closest reggae comes to psychedelia. The peak of the album is ‘Zion Land’ – Ras Michel’s languid vocals levitating over pungent keyboard parts which sound as though they were recorded in a cathedral, the red-eyed studio genius of Lloyd Charmers and George Raymond in full effect.


05: MR FINGERS
SLAM DANCE EP
(ALLEVIATED)

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‘Stars’

Cut loud, repressed and sounding crunchier and more dynamic than ever, there’s really no excuse now not to own a copy of Larry Heard’s greatest 12″ (read: Chicago house music’s greatest 12″). The none-more-jacking title track, ‘Waterfalls’ and ‘For So Long’ are absolutely timeless, and ‘Stars’, well, just take a listen to ‘Stars’. Exactly.


04: KEVIN DRUMM
SHEER HELLISH MIASMA
(EDITIONS MEGO)

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‘Turning Point’

Heavier than a death in the family, Sheer Hellish Miasma still stands as the greatest full-length from that fertile period of guitar abuse and plate-shifting drone that, in a perfect world, would have dominated the first half of the noughties (Khanate, SunnO))), Wolf Eyes, Jazkamer: thems was the days). This year Editions Mego awarded it a timely reissue on double-vinyl, with, wait for it, an additional track titled ‘Impotent Hummer’. Say no more.


03: DREXCIYA
NEPTUNE’S LAIR / HARNESSED THE STORM
(TRESOR)

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‘Andreaen Sand Dunes’

It’s true that the recorded legacy of Drexciya is dauntingly diffuse, spread across numerous 12″s, CDs, labels, aliases and side-projects. But one thing any hardened fan will tell you is that James Stinson and Gerald Donald’s strongest, most coherent LPs are Neptune’s Lair and Harnessed The Storm, released by Tresor in 1999 and 2002 respectively. Neptune’s Lair is the more low-slung colourful record, hitting the future-soul sublime on ‘Running Out of Space'; Harnessed The Storm is a more taut, more metallic, more techno effort. Both sound unique and thrillingly contemporary.


02: CHRIS CARTER
THE SPACES BETWEEN
(OPTIMO MUSIC)

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‘Interloop’

The supreme sonic architect behind Throbbing Gristle (no disrespect to Sleazy), and subsequently Chris & Cosey, CTI and Carter Tutti, Chris Carter is one of electronic music’s most important figures, his studio adventurousness matched only by his natural pop nous. His 70s and early-mid 80s explorations of repetitive, trance-inducing synthesizer music eerily prefigured techno, and despite the relatively lo-fi recording techniques of the day, sounds as pristine and futuristic today as it did back then. Originally released on cassette in 1980 on TG’s own Industrial Records label, The Space Between – retitled The Spaces Between for Optimo’s redux vinyl edition – is an absolute landmark.


1: VIRGO
VIRGO
(RUSH HOUR)

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‘Ride’

The greatest house record of all time? Yeah, it probably is. Certainly house has never sounded as warm, natural and resonant as it does on Virgo’s 1989 debut, reissued by one of the labels of the year, Rush Hour. The Amsterdam imprint’s remastering job isn’t particularly radical, but then Virgo’s production is so crisp and fat in the first place, it doesn’t need much extra oomph – it’s already drum machine-heavy dance music at its most cerebral, groovy, melancholic and magical.

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