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14 Dec

The comps with stomps from 2023

1

Brum As Fuck (House of God)

There are heavyweights in the techno world, and then there are the total Giant Haystacks titans of the game, and Birmingham’s long, long running House of God is definitely one of the latter. Where else would you go and find the likes of Jeff Mills has just turned up unnanounced for a stint behind the decks. Where else, too, would you find an array of talent like this: Regis, Surgeon, Neil Landstrumm, Jerome Hill, Tim Wright… we could go on , all products of and contributors to the club night’s legend and all contributing hard hitting, low riding techno exclusives that more than justify its hefty but by no means unreasonable price tag. Exactly.

2

Guerilla Girls! She Punks & Beyond 1975-2015 (Ace)

Less a genre collection than a glorious amalgamation of spiritually alligned tunes from riot grrrls and their predecessors. It starts with Patti Smith’s awesomely groovy ‘Gloria: In Excelsis Deo/Gloria (version)’, takes in full on punk – X Ray Spex’s  ‘Iama Poseur’ – and new wave from Blondie and Ludus through to proto-indie Kurt Cobain favourites The Raincoats, The Slits in experimental second album mode (eco anthem ‘Earthbeat’), to Huggy Bear’s brutally brillaint ‘Her Jazz’ and Bikini Kill, taking in L7, Bangles and We’ve Got A Fuzzbox along the way. Bursting with fem-slanted anger but also invention, mischief and excellence.

3

The Magnificent 7 (Burning Sounds)

Burning Sounds pay tribute to some of reggae’s most crucial DJs with this new album The Magnificent 7. It is packed with artists inspired by the fundamental elements of Rastafarianism and they all speak loudly of the virtues of “living upright in those dread times.” Jah Walton – later known as Joseph Cotton – kicks off with the positive vibrations of ‘The Seed You Sow’ before Big Youth gets deeper and darker. A brace of I-Roy jams roll on fat bass lines and King Sighta also appears twice with his natty vocals and percussive rhythms amongst a bunch of other superb sounds from the likes of Natty Love and Sister Sheron.

4

Various – Solstice III (Multi Culti)

Set your phasers to chug – Multi Culti are back with a new compilation which follows their astrologically charged series from 2021’s Multi Culti Solstice II. As ever, the Canadian label deals a strong line in globally-informed dance music with cheekiness in its bones and an inherent spirituality, faithfully upheld by their assembled disciples. Across the eight tracks there are many highlights, but a few for us include Jamie Paton’s sinewy 90s dub house workout ‘Sub Ritual’ and Kunturi’s rhythmically-elevated ritualistic acid joint, ‘Eclosion’. Strap in for another wild ride far and wide with the most adventurous label in town.

5

Autonomy: The Productions Of Martin Rushent (Ace)

We could be here all day talking about this 19-track collection – from long-lost 80s outfits featured who really benefited from the magic touch (Leisure Process’ ‘A Way You’ll Never Be’ is stonking, as is the 1985 club mix of Then Jerico’s ‘Big Sweep’) to household names like Human League and Altered Images – this is a dazzling expo of an oft overlooked talent. And who knew Rushent produced The Go-Gos? He served up their third album, 1984’s ‘Talk Show’ and they never sounded better as the superb ‘Beneath The Sky’ here shows. Elsewhere there are tracks from Generation X, XTC, Rachel Sweet, The Members (he produced ‘Working Girl’ for heaven’s sake), Hazel O’Conner and The Associates – the stories of his time working with Billy MacKenzie are pure gold.

7

The Beat By Spun: West Coast Breakbeat Rave Electrofunk 1988-1994 Vol 3 (Above Board)

New York maestro and Loose Control Band member DJ Spun has served up a superb compilation for Above Board here. It is his third such collection and one that focusses on the specific subject of West Coast breaks, rave and electro funk from the late eighties to mid-cities. It was a fertile scene by this account and one that still sounds current today, right from the blistering open eats and trance-like synths of Tasti Box’s ‘San Francisco’ to Deep2’s old school house jacker ‘Sphere’ which closes out the double pack. In between are plenty of gems, not least the deep and dreamy sounds of Hawke’s ‘3 Moods In A Purple Garden’ (Robbie Hardkiss mix).

7

50 Years Of Hip Hop: The Female MC’s (Tuff City)

Unless, like some of us, you spent a lot of time listening to the John Peel show during the 1980s it would be easy to forget the crucial role female MCs played in the development of early hip-hop, an abberation which this excellent collection seeks to redress. Opening with ‘Greetings From The Queen’ by Queen Latifah and taking in two superb contributions from the none-more-distinctive voice of Roxanne Shante, it’s a deep dive into an enthralling corner of the culture that light is rarely shione on these days.

8

Bjork In Jazz (Wagram)

With such an illustrious catalogue behind her, it’s no surprise to see Bjork’s work approached via a project like this. Wagram have gathered together a range of artists to approach the Icelandic pop explorer’s rich legacy from a jazz perspective, and the emphasis is on classics from her first three albums. From ‘Isobel’ and ‘Come To Me’ through to ‘Human Behaviour’ and ‘Army Of Me’, it’s a joyous and intriguing listen, with artists such as Gretchen Parlato, Viktoria Tolstoy and Betty Hutton taking on these imperious songs with a fresh twist.

9

Jangle Bells: A Rough Trade Shop Christmas Compilation (Rough Trade)

Nobody writes decent Christmas Records anymore…. Oh yes they do, as this collection of today’s hippest acts proves beyond doubt. From the cheeky ‘Los Chrismos’ by Los Bitchos to the more traditional Linda Lindas’ ‘Groovy Xmas’ and those masters of the cover Black Midi doing ‘Jungle Bell Riock’, this has got it all. There’s even a bit of 70s flavoured bovver booted glam courtesy of ‘Violent Night’ by Chubby & The Gang. Slade should be scared.

10

Electronic Music Anthology Vol6 (Wagram)

Wagram’s latest comp is definitely ‘does what is says on the tin’ affair, but the fact it’s onto its sixth edition, plus a cursory glance at the names involved, should tell you it’s well worth considering. There’s a serious contingent of top French talent – DJ Cam, Bob Sinclar, Dimitri From Paris, I:Cube… – and then other highlights from Ninja Tune’s BICEP, the Latin-tinged house of DJ Gregory and more. The ace in the pack, though, is surely the absolutely essential Soulwax remix of Marie Davidson’s hilarious ‘Work It’.

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