Best of 2023 – Top 10 reissues | Juno Daily

The year saw endless anniversary editions – here are our favourites


Plastikman – Sheet One (30th anniversary edition) (Novamute)

A truly landmark album in the history of techno, Richie Hawtin set the bar very high for himself and his Plastikman alias with this record. Sheet One is fabled in many ways, from the notorious blotter-sheet sleeve to the inscription about drug consumption on the run-out groove, but its the music itself which has stood the test of time. Wringing layers of emotion from a 303 beyond what most thought was possible, Hawtin created an exciting new extrapolation of the Detroit techno he took his lead from, foreshadowing the increased minimalism which was yet to come. Some 30 years old and still a dazzling masterpiece of modern electronic music, it’s sounding better than ever on this special edition reissue via Novamute.


Photek – Modus Operandi (Proper)

By 1997 Photek had already marked himself out as a wild card in the rapidly evolving d&b scene. He’d had three years to carve out some frankly dizzying displays of break editing wizardry and such was the innovation on display there just had to be an album coming. Modus Operandi smartly stepped to one side of the dancefloor, offering a smoky reflection on where jungle and d&b had got to, highlighting the compatibility between half-speed downtempo and breakneck drums and bringing inherent jazziness to the forefront of the beats, which avoided all the usual cliches. It’s a masterpiece which hasn’t dulled with time and here it’s getting a heavyweight reissue across three slabs to ensure the loudest cut. All the better to blow your mind with, all over again.


Soft Cell – Non Stop Erotic Cabaret (remastered) (EMI)

The original sleazy stars of the synth-pop boom, Soft Cell made their presence felt in an instant when they debuted with Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret and their perennial classic cover of Northern Soul standard ‘Tainted Love’. Marc Almond and Dave Ball had a widescreen vision of what their music represented, leaning in on a neon-lit, night-walking vision of early 80s Britain which was more candidly outrageous than most were prepared for. But for all the subversion contained in this all time classic of the era, the pop nous is stronger and that’s why they managed to be hugely successful no matter how high they waved the freak flag.


Sandwell District – Feed Forward (deluxe edition) (Point of Departure)

Feed-Forward was the first and last studio album from techno titans Sandwell District. It arrived some 13 years ago and this is the first time it has been reissued. The collective – made up of Regis, Function, Female and Silent Servant – have also shared a new and unheard track ‘Surrender To The Unknown’, which makes it onto this reissued version of the original album. It sits well with the rest of the cuts which bring together dub, industrial and techno in all new ways. The group also returned for a new series of live shows this year.


Speedy J – Ginger (reissue) (Warp)

Warp continues to comb back through the landmark Artificial Intelligence series with this landmark record from Jochem Paap, aka Speedy J. Alongside a tandem reissue of Richie Hawtin’s F.U.S.E. album Dimension Intrusion, this remastered edition of Ginger takes us back into the heart of early 90s techno innovation, when new ideas were developing globally at a rate of knots. Paap had already established himself in the harder end of the techno pool, but Ginger flipped the script with an immersive, meditative exploration of minimalism and melodic structure. Amongst the eternal classics are some dazzling miniatures deemed ‘Fills’ which make for some of the most compelling listening on this seminal slice of early 90s techno.


Etienne De Crecy – Super Discount (Pixadelic)

Released in 1996, ‘Super Discount’ is the debut album by Etienne de Crecy, an influential figure in the French electronic music scene. De Crecy’s influence helped to propagate certain genres, from the good old scratchy filter-house beloved of Daft Punk to the jazzier take on the house genre that St Germain and others gave it, all while establishing France’s national identity on the global electronic music market. Packed with early collaborators from DJ Tall to AIR, this is more than just ‘fun’ music – it’s got that classic French Midas touch.


New Order – Low-Life (Definitive Edition) (Warner)

In the midst of a slew of high-end reissues of New Order’s classic material (including represses of the singles, no less), here comes a mouth-watering deluxe edition of their 1985 album Low-life. It’s always a bold statement to call a release ‘definitive’ but it’s hard to imagine topping this lavish box set with a 180 gram pressing plus a double CD, double DVD and accompanying book. There are full live performances from 1985 in Japan and Belgium, and every possible remix, outtake and demo version you could possibly dream of. And that’s not even saying anything about the original album itself – a true totem of 80s synth pop in all its glory.


Alan Braxe/Various – The Upper Cuts (2023 edition) (Smugglers Way)

Alan Braxe & Fred Falke’s ‘Intro’ was an undeniable earworm in its day, being the scratchy French house montager on present everyone’s decks for at least several summers in a row in the early 00s. Few know Braxe was also behind the inimitable ‘Music Sounds Better With You’ by Stardust, alongside Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter of course, for which he was finally credited on ‘The Upper Cuts’ here, first released in 2005. Now almost twenty years later, the EP gets a full reissue, documenting some of the artist’s most well-known hits.


FUSE – Dimension Intrusion (Warp)

Richie Hawtin’s early music was undoubtedly a product of his surroundings in Windsor (the Canadian one) and Detroit, but over time a more European dimension to his sound emerged which naturally aligned with the developments taking place at Warp. When the Artificial Intelligence series came together, Hawtin’s approach was certainly tipped more towards techno in the American sense of the word, but his pointillist beats and synth sequences on Dimension Intrusion slotted in comfortably between Speedy J, Polygon Window and Autechre. Not just a horizontal home listening affair, there’s plenty of rave teeth to tracks like ‘F.U.’ and ‘Substance Abuse’, as he demonstrated his gift for telling vivid, narcotic stories with the 303 and 909. Now, the album has finally remastered and reissued, sounding the best it ever has and released alongside a new edition of Speedy J’s equally seminal Ginger.


Daft Punk – Random Access Memories (10th Anniversary Edition) (Sony)

The fourth and final studio album from the now disbanded French electronic duo, Daft Punk, Random Access Memory gets a re-release on Sony complete with an exclusive poster and 16-page booklet. This release pays tribute to late 1970s and early 1980s American music, particularly the sounds hailing from Los Angeles at the time. For this seismic album, the band developed and enriched the minimalist production style typical of their previous releases though collaborating with session musicians performing live instrumentation, limiting the use of electronic instruments to simple drum machines, a custom-built modular synthesiser, and their signature vintage vocoders. Spanning an impressive selection of genres from disco, to prog rock and pop, the album also boasts a serious list of chart-topping collaborators – from Nile Rodgers, to Pharrell Williams, to Giorgio Moroder. Featuring the massive hit single, ‘Get Lucky’, this album is already considered a defining release of the 2010s pop/electronic landscape.