The number of quality reissue albums and collections seems to be accelerating year on year. This year there seems to be a specific demand for South African music, which has lead to many top quality vinyl reissues (see Ntombi Ndaba’s Tomorrow LP) alongside a lot of Nigerian disco-funk. It’s also been a great year for the more conventional reissue/collection practice of re-exploring the classics. We’ve been treated to reissue albums spreading across all matter of genres this year, from electro to rock to soul to house and everything in between. Obvious standouts for us are Aphex Twin’s ‘Selected Ambient Works 85-92’ (which doesn’t make it into our chart, as it has been repressed many times during Phonica’s existence) and B12’s ‘Time Tourist’ reissue (which does, purely as its never been reissued before!), but you’ll have to keep scrolling to see the other excellent reissues in our top 25 picks.
25. Waak Waak Djungi
Waak Waak Ga Min Min
Australia’s Efficient Space label collect the previously CD-only work of Waak Waak Jungi, a group consisting of indigenous Yolngu song-men Bobby Bunnungurr, Jimmy Djamunba and Peter Milaynga alongside musician Peter Mumme. Recorded in the mid-90s, their album ‘Crow Fire Music’ slipped under the radar at the time though ‘Waak Waak ga Min Min’ cherry picks 5 album tracks alongside the previously unreleased ‘Gandi Bawong’. It’s a sonically unique and captivating window into the richness of Aboriginal culture. ‘Sprawling vocal/electronic soundscapes and field recordings that reimagine the traditional songs of black crows and white cockatoos, sharing, creation spirits and of leaving and returning home to the country. Spacious and patiently durational, the songs resound in a big land with a big story to tell.’
24. Ryo Fukui
(We Release Jazz)
Breathtakingly beautiful piano-centric J-jazz from Hokkaido pianist wunderkind Ryo Fukui. On WRWTFWW Records’ new sister-label We Release Jazz so you know it’s got all the bells and whistles – 180g, half speed master, OBI strip, etc… Oh! And a rather spot-on version of ‘My Funny Valentine’ too.
Obscure Aussie jazz-funk holy grail gets a new lease of life courtesy of Edition Hawara. ‘Effortlessly bringing together pop, soul and new age vibes’ – firmly rooted in the 80s but sounding like it could be from the future!
22. Dom Salvador e Aboliçao
Som, Sangue e Raça LP
(Mad About Records)
Brazilian LPs have been a staple of re-issue labels for many years, yet somehow (bar a dodgy boot a few years back) Dom Salvador E Abolição’s ‘Som, Sangue E Raça’ hadn’t been done until now. It’s an ‘explosive fusion of samba, soul, jazz, and funk’ that shaped a lot of the Brazilian music that followed. And whilst most of the people on this record went on to form other groundbreaking outfits, Dom Salvador never really matched the heights of this LP.
21. Tin Man
Acid Acid Acid LP
Tin Man’s debut from 2005 gets a fresh lease of life as an expanded quadruple pack of acid goodness. ‘Acid Acid’ (as it was originally called when it was a mere triple pack) set the bar so high for Tin Man that nearly every subsequent release from the Californian hasn’t quite had the same impact. 13 tracks of melancholic, squelchy goodness! Dive in.
20. Hiroshi Sato
2017 was peak J-synth. Luckily Wewantsounds didn’t get the memo that it was all over – Hiroshi Sato’s ‘Orient’ LP was still criminally unavailable in these part of the globe. Even the 2014 Japan only repress was commanding silly figures on the second-hand market. And rightly so – essential listening from start to finish with some choice personnel too!
19. Randolph Baker
Getting Next To You
Another killer unearthing from those fine folk at Kalita Records. Four choice tracks from Randolph Baker’s privately pressed elusive 1982 disco album ‘Reaching For The Stars’, done in collaboration with Randolph himself.
18. Carrie Cleveland
Looking Up: The Complete Works LP
Unless you’re Gilles Peterson or have a significant amount of cash to burn, then you probably don’t have a copy of Carrie Cleveland’s ‘Looking Up’. Thankfully Kalita stepped in and rectified the problem. If Soul or Disco mean anything to you, grab a copy of this. You won’t regret it.
17. Cabaret Du Ciel
Skies In The Mirror LP
The excellent Hybride Sentimento label (run by the same characters behind Melodies Souterraines etc.) reissue the rare-as-hens-teeth ‘Skies In The Mirror’ cassette on vinyl for the first time. Deep, otherworldly ambient with hints of electronica and Techno seeping in at the edges, it’s a beautiful record that more that merits a wider audience.
16. Steve Roach
Structures From Silence LP
Solid cosmic, new age vibes from Steve Roach from back in 1984. ‘Structures From Silence’ is ‘his first purely textural album, with a smooth, dark, gentle atmospheres unlike any of his other albums’ – yum!
Lingua Franca-1 LP
‘Spellbinding mutant funk grooves, joyful post-punk explorations, synth fantasies, sexy distortions, and fluid cool-no-sweat vocals’ – WRWTFWW Records nailed the description on this one. Helps that they know how to package and release a record too!
14. Ntombi Ndaba & Survival
2018 was definitely the year the world went nuts for anything that originated in South Africa, preferably 80s & 90s. Afrosynth were definitely proponents of the sound and Ntombi Ndaba’s compilation of tracks ‘Tomorrow’ easily our favourite release from them.
13. Pendant (Huerco S.) / Various Artists
Woozy ambient vibes from a couple of years back masquerading a re-issue (surely a cassette release doesn’t count, does it? Of course, we’re joking). The first outing of Huerco S. as Pendant so can only be good good good!
12. Carlos Maria Trindade & Nuno Canavarro
Mr Wollogallu LP
(Urpa I Musell)
Overlooked little gem from Portugal via Barcelona’s Urpa I Musell. ‘Sophisticated, adventurous soundscapes’ originally out back in 1991.
11. Move D
Another repress from the Source Records vaults, this one features a solo Mr David Moufang sowing the seeds of what was to come. What a debut! Still holding its own 20+ years down the line.
10. John Beltran
Ten Days Of Blue LP
Peacefrog finally realised there was more than just Moodymann in their back catalogue that warranted a repress. Like this here stunning LP from John Beltran, sounding ‘like Tangerine Dream injected with jazz bass or Kraftwerk mainlining on heartbreak’. Don’t think we can top that.
9. No Smoke
International Smoke Signal LP
A perfect screenshot of London’s bubbling early 90’s electronic scene – ‘where hip-hop, soul, reggae, rare groove and acid house were played side by side in the warehouses and empty spaces of former industrial areas’. Mainly known for ‘Koro Koro’, but the whole album is a peach!
8. Basa Basa
Of the many African Disco tunes in the cosmos, ‘African Soul Power’ must be one of the most recognisable – a heady mix of repetition, a catchy vocal snippet that you can hum to for days… Vintage Voudou has done a great job with the reissue of this LP. Someone needs to tackle their other two releases now.
The Purple Universe LP
(Musique Pour La Danse)
Originally out on Richard D. James sadly now defunct Rephlex imprint, it was records like this that gave birth to the term Braindance. Killer electro jams still sounding as fierce as they did all those years back.
Time Tourist LP
Solid 1995 techno from B12 and Warp, who have lovingly repressed this classic LP from the London outfit. Essential listening for anyone with a passing interest in the Detroit via Sheffield sound of the ’90s.
5. Conjoint feat. Move D
Beautiful early 2000’s electronica with more than a hint of jazz from Move D and co. Originally on David’s Source Records (home to a lot of great music) and now back on Demdike Stare’s DDS imprint.
4. N’Draman Blintch
Cosmic Sounds LP
(Hot Mule & Secousse)
Bonkers Afro-Disco holy grail from erstwhile W. Onyeabor collaborator N’Draman-Blintch. Rough and ready, upbeat jams, years ahead of their time. Originals fetch upwards of £1K these days so thankfully us mere mortals can afford this gem now too!
3. Il Guardino Del Faro
Long lost Italian album that brings disco, funk, cosmic and library together in one killer slice of wax. Courtesy of Time Capsule featuring the lovely fold at Beauty & The Beat, Brilliant Corners and more. Nice artwork too!
2. Elecktroids (Drexciya)
(Clone Classic Cuts)
A Drexciyan transmission from 1995 originally on Warp and rare as hens teeth… Clone Classic Cuts have done an amazing job at bringing this electro gem (that was commanding rather exorbitant amounts of cash on the second-hand market) back to life.
1. Susumu Yokota
Acid Mt. Fuji
Absolutely sublime second-ever full-length release from the sorely missed Susumu Yokota. Previously CD & Japan only, ‘ Acid Mt.Fuji’ has easily been THE rediscovery of the year. A lot beefier than some of Susumu’s later (and possibly a bit twee) output, it features tracks that are 100% heads down club gear, balancing those with some more introspective moments. A joy from start to finish!