The Top Ten Reissues Of 2012

December 29, 2012

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Ordinarily I’d take today off. After yesterday’s post the last thing I want to do is sit at my computer writing more. And here I am. Writing more about the year in music. It’s like…doesn’t this guy have a life!? Writing about more music he heard this year!? What a loser!

Sorry. Where was I? Oh, right. I had more to say about music. So while I was compiling my list of the Top 100 Albums of 2012 I thought it might be a worthy venture if I clue you guys into some of the best reissues of the year. Why? Because…well…in the grand scheme of things, 2012 wasn’t THAT good a year for music. In fact, most years now aren’t as good as they used to be when it comes to new music. Which is why so many record labels focus on reissuing albums that came out, like, thirty or forty years ago. Music doesn’t get better over time. It just gets co-opted by young, stupid kids who think they’re creating something original.

The Top Ten Reissues Of 2012

Honorable Mention: Gunter Schickert – Uberfallig (Bureau B) – One of the deeper cuts from the Sky label (Cluster, Rother, Roedelius, Grosskopf, Moebius/Plank, et. al.) this is Schickert’s second record, and it’s full of amazing space-echo guitar. [Listen to “Wanderer“]

10. Codeine – When I See The Sun (Numero Group) – The repress itself isn’t all that impressive, because obviously Codeine vinyl was one of the first holes I had to fill when I started collecting. What’s impressive about this box set is the essays about the history of the band and the recording of the albums, and the unreleased demos, Peel sessions and hard-to-find tracks.

09. Null & Void – Possibilities (Bunkerpop) – I’m a little bit biased here because we held a record release party for Possibilities at the store and I was lucky enough to get hip to both Happiness And Contempt and Montage Morte in advance of this reissue. It’s some of the best, most-damaged post-punk you’ll ever hear. [Listen to “Our New Life“]

08. Anton Batagov – Music For the 35 Buddhas (Tummo) – “Music For The 35 Buddhas and like Wheel, it’s another fantastic and dreamlike composition, mixing Batagov’s lovely piano playing with vibraphone, Javanese gongs and antique cymbals. There’s definitely a gamelan vibe, but in a whole different setting, the interplay between vibraphone and piano, deft and effortless, producing a dreamily cinematic sprawl of notes floating weightless in space, a sort of tranquil soundscape, that seems perfect for meditation, contemplation or even just relaxation. The tones ring out, the extended decay as much a part of the composition as the initial notes, making the whole thing sound very fluid and organic and full of a hopeful energy. Delicate and divine. And even at 40 minutes, way too short, the sort of piece that we imagine playing on forever.” – Aquarius Records.

07. Calvin Keys – Shawn-Neeq (Tompkins Squre) – Deep, funky jazz from 1971. Keys was a brilliant guitar player who could play cosmic psych, funk, or soul jazz with equal skill. Originally released on the much-sought-after Black Jazz label, original copies fetch a pretty penny these days. He’s released a a slew of record since this and played with everyone from Taj Mahal to Bobby Hutchinson, but for me this was the pinnacle of his recording career.

06. Can – The Lost Tapes (Mute)My review said, “As a testament to the absolute greatness of Can between the years of 1968 and 1973, you’re not going to find a better compilation of unreleased Can material anywhere. My little promo package doesn’t lay out which tracks are outtakes from which years, so it’ll be interesting to see how much material from Future Days, Soon Over Babaluma and Landed is included. To my ears — and I like to think when it comes to Can I have a pretty discerning ear — I couldn’t pick out too much. Post Landed…well… anything released after that just isn’t enjoyable. While Czukay, Karoli, Liebezeit and Schmidt were all still there, I think they lost me with the glam sound and the tenor sax. By the time Rosko Gee and Rebop Kwaku Baah joined the core for 1977?s World Music-inspired Saw Delight….yikes.”

05. Ike Yard – Ike Yard (Desire) – A customer sold me on this by calling it one of the best minimalist post-punk records ever made. That was all I needed to hear. He reached out to me and planted the 1980-82 Collected CD in my hand and sent me on my way. I was immediately embarrassed that someone as knowledgeable as myself wouldn’t know about this record. Paranoid industrial experimental punk. Timeless.

04. William Sheller – Lux Aeterna (The Omni Recording Corporation) – According to the record label, ” “Written in 1970 and released in 1972, William Sheller’s Parisian Love In/Freak Out “Lux Aeterna” is a psychedelic mass of staggering beauty and dexterity. Composed to celebrate the marriage of a dear friend, the LP’s twin themes of spiritual and global union are mirrored in its grand orchestral and choral arrangements, rock drums, fuzz/flanged guitars and gurgling stratospheric analogue synthesis.”

03. Donnie & Joe Emerson – Dreamin’ Wild (Light In The Attic) – Remember that record listening party I blogged about a few years ago when I had an anxiety attack trying to pick some records to share with very, very knowledgeable collectors? Well, that was the first time I heard Donnie & Joe Emerson, and it was — in my opinion — the hit of the party. It was to my complete lack of surprise that this was reissued within a year of that party by LITA, and of course it was released to rave reviews.

02. Cults Percussion Ensemble – Cults Percussion Ensemble (Trunk) – Thus spake Aquarius Records, “You wouldn’t expect an ensemble of 14 year old school girls playing all manner of vibraphones, marimbas, glockenspiels, xylophones and timpani drums to have a name like Cults Percussion Ensemble, but it’s highly appropriate as this is not only a totally obscure record from 1979 sold only on European festival tours, but Cults also happens to be the name of the Scottish suburb of Aberdeen that the group and their bandleader, Rob Forbes, hailed from…The girls’ deft performances and light airy touch are delightfully enchanting, and though not as sinister or as ominous as the title would suggest, the music is nonetheless spellbinding and mysterious and comes highly recommended!!” [Listen to “Auton Carillion“]

01. Monoton – Monotonprodukt07 (Desire) – This was a Christmas gift from Mark and it turned out to be the best reissue I heard all year. How’s that for timely? It’s part krautrock, part dark-ambient, with a little bit of dub and a whole lot of minimal synth thrown in for good measure. Originially issued in an edition of 500 in the year 1982, it’s one of the most-sought after collector’s items of its era. When The Wire published its list of 100 albums that set the world on fire, it wrote of Monotonprodukt07, “For all its prescient washed-out tones, threadbare textures and Minimalist rigor, it has the edge on much that followed. Adopting an imperious art stance towards mainstreams and margins alike, [Konrad] Becker cast a cold analytic eye over Electronica’s urfathers, picking up on Suicide’s jittertronic urgency, if not their melodrama, and DAF’s throbbing sequencers, but with the sex threat removed, which he patched into his own crackling circuits, hissing vistas, and tumbling beatstreams.” [Listen to “JSCA“]

1 comment

  1. |

    Sage choices, not to different from my own….Sleep – Dopesmoker & Royal Trux – Accelerator would’ve made the cut however.

    p.s. In reference to choice 02. I stay five miles outside of Cults and after sampling the album it’s fairly evocative of the area.

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