Not a surprise when you’ve got the annals of recording history to rifle through, but for all the kerfuffle about best-of-2013 lists – that annual ritual when we deck passing mutton into whatever lamb hide is lying to hand – you’ll need to turn to the reissue rundowns to find a properly worthwhile strike ratio.
2013 brought us stacks of excellent archival releases – many clocked by our monthly reissues column, some missed at the time of release but discovered down the line. The following 50 could happily have been a dud-free 100: for every entry here, there’s another quality record that didn’t quite edge the cut – a testament to the efforts of an increasingly industrious reissue circuit.
Our rundown includes scene surveys, excavated classics, wax debuts, forgotten triumphs, anniversary editions and aureate box sets. Selections date from the 1950s to recent memory, and run the gamut from Chi-town house to Swedish drone. With many of the Top 20 releases, we’ve also taken the time to track down the artists or labels behind the releases for a few words about each record.
On the surface, French duo Natural Snow Buildings make harsh music, but it’s a worldly sort of noise: lush exotica, Sun Kil Moon’s quiet acoustic guitars, Morricone, Loren Conners’ nachtmusik, Stars Of The Lids’ dawn-lit sound sculptures…they’re all there under the layers of distortion. Running to well over six hours, Daughters Of Darkness presents their rattled drone-folk at its grandest. It’s elevated by Ba Da Bing!’s immaculate package – an 8xLP set in a bespoke hand-painted box, a supplementary CD with a cache of extra material, and some stickers. Considered alongside reissues of the slimmer Night Coercion in the Company of Witches and The Snowbringer Cult, this should help make a marginal act, well, marginally less marginal.
Crunchy garage house from 1992, with some lovely soupy organs, disjointed bongy bits and a general vibe of having been repeatedly strongarmed through a hedge backwards. Alongside the amped-up Ruffneck Mix that accompanied the original, UTTU chuck on a convulsive 2-step edit from Marquis Hawkes and a giddy sax-led take from Capracara. Still eminently rinseworthy.
DJ Haus: “I came across this record on the Feel My Bicep blog (which i’m OBSESSED with, haha), I also heard it numerous times before, but that’s when I found it available as digital. Anyway, it turns out that Jim at SOTU, a friend of a friend, DJs with Yogi (OHM) these days, and also my distro Rubadub knew him over the years, as he’s kinda a Scottish dance legend. I basically got his number off Jim, gave him a call, and hey presto, he was up for it! Sometimes it really is that easy. I later found out this was the first UK record to EVER use the M1 organ sound, so again it just kept giving…”