20: SPACEMEN 3
(FIRE RECORDS, ORIG. 1987)
Fire Records did us all a great favour this year by reissuing Spacemen 3′s early 12″ EPs – for us its the EPs, rather than the albums, where Kember and Pierce’s most inspired moments are documented. For the psychedelically inclined they’re all worth checking, but if you had to pick only one we’d recommend this one: it features their two-part version of The Red Krayola’s ‘Transparent Radiation’, the supremely monged-out ‘Ecstasy Symphony’ and a wonderfully ropey reimagining of Sun Ra’s ‘Starship’. Music to take drugs to, no less.
(WARP, ORIG. 1991)
One of only a handful of great albums to come out of the UK acid house explosion, this debut offering from Mark Bell and Gez Varley put Warp Records on the map and conclusively proved that when it comes to dance music, the more bleeps and bass you have, the better. The 20th anniversary reissue spreads its tracks across two slabs of vinyl.
18. PIERRE’S PFANTASY CLUB
(NUMBERS, ORIG. 1987)
This unstoppable ’87 vocal cut is surely DJ Pierre’s friskiest moment, reissued on 12″ for a new generation of jackers, in simple but effective packaging, courtesy of Numbers.
17: HOW TO DRESS WELL
(TRI ANGLE, ORIG. 2010)
Lefse Records originally released Tom Krell’s isolationist r’n’b odyssey last year; Tri Angle granted it a wider audience with a 2011 gatefold vinyl release.
16: GALAXY 2 GALAXY
GALAXY 2 GALAXY
(UNDERGROUND RESISTANCE, ORIG. 1993)
Four tracks from Underground Resistance’s ’93 Galaxy 2 Galaxy set, newly remastered. A good chunk of the original double-pack has been lost in the transition to single 12″, but hey, ‘Hi Tech Jazz’ and ‘Journey Of The Dragons’ – twin peaks of 90s Detroit techno – are present and correct.
15: CABARET VOLTAIRE / PETER CARE
JOHNNY YESNO REDUX
(MUTE, ORIG. 1983)
What you think of the new “redux” version is irrelevant. This box set from Mute represents the first DVD outing for Peter Care’s original Johnny YesNo, a supremely mucky and disquieting vision of Sheffield noir soundtracked by – and synonymous with – Cabaret Voltaire at the height of their powers.
14: TALK TALK
(BA DA BING, ORIG. 1991)
Talk Talk’s final album, a high watermark of visionary British chamber-pop, unique and untouchable 20 years after its release. There’s more artistic truth, beauty, bravery and skill in this record than the 10 best albums of 2011 combined; the only reason it’s not #1 in this list is because you should already know that.
13: ARTHUR RUSSELL
LET’S GO SWIMMING
(AUDIKA, ORIG. 1986)
At once impishly playful and dizzyingly complex, the original Let’s Go Swimming EP is one of Russell’s finest vinyl outings; acquiring this high quality reissue from Audika should be a no-brainer.
12: THROBBING GRISTLE
THE SECOND ANNUAL REPORT OF THROBBING GRISTLE
(INDUSTRIAL RECORDS, ORIG. 1977)
Rendering the last round of shitty bootlegs obsolete, all of TG’s main studio albums have been remastered by Chris Carter for reissue on CD, digital and vinyl. The Second Annual Report captures Gen, Sleazy (R.I.P.), Chris and Cosey’s transition from scatology-obsessed performance art troupe to progenitors of “industrial music for industrial people”. A landmark in 20th century underground music.
THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1994-2001
Lavish book-bound 3xCD set chronicling the first seven years of Karl O’Connor’s ferocious, hypnotic contributions to techno. Put aside the suave minimalism of Sandwell District for a moment, and reacquaint yourself with the original model: ugly, angry, implausibly funky.