LWE’s Top 5 Reissues of 2008

For our first year-end column, staff writer Nate DeYoung gathers his top five reissues — and uses that word loosely — released in 2008.

01. Gas, Nah und Fern [Kompakt] (buy)
It was only appropriate that Wolfgang Voigt would eventually start a label, Kompakt, whose intention was to keep every release in print. Before Nah und Fern, it bordered between difficult and near impossible to track down all of Voigt’s Gas albums. And considering their stature, it was difficult to imagine how they could have gotten lost to the wayside (RIP Mille Plateaux). But remastered and fully realized in a single package, Nah und Fern might be one of the biggest revelations of 2008. The ingredients to Gas — the drones, the de-tuned classical music, the gentle tap of a kick — don’t sound like much as ambient building blocks; their modesty is easy to get lost in. From the raw start of the self-titled through the nerve-wracked finale of Pop, there’s a unity and development between the four records. Voigt is never willing to repeat himself, but each track sounds like a compelling variation on the same template. My favorite variation is the last track on K├Ânigsforst. It’s probably different from yours.

02. Basic Channel, BCD-2 [Basic Channel] (buy)
In a year steeped in the resurgence of dub-techno, Basic Channel’s second CD compilation couldn’t have come out at a better time. Eschewing the dubbed out seascapes found on their debut compilation, BCD-2 cherry-picks Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald’s full-speed-ahead techno releases. It’s a welcome wrinkle to the Basic Channel mythology where “faceless techno bollocks” always seemed to de-emphasize the techno part for the appreciation of Basic Channel’s faceless aesthetic. BCD-2 contains so many of Basic Channel’s highlights — the onslaught of “Enforcement,” the prickles of “Octagon,” and the momentum of “Phylyps Track II/III” — that it’s hard not to be simply thankful for the care in transferring this work to CD. It almost makes you not miss the original’s vinyl crackle.

03. Pole, 1 2 3 [~scape] (buy)
There’s a tendency to talk about Pole’s work as aural illusions. Stefan Betke’s scrapes, pops and crackles refashion the inadvertent effects of technology into purposeful affects of depth. As much as Pole defined the glitch movement when he first released the monochromatic-trilogy of 1, 2, and 3, this collection of his seminal releases never sounds as dated as you’d expect in 2008. It might be how far Betke dubbed his techno or how many creases he imprinted onto the Basic Channel blueprint. If Basic Channel emphasized vinyl’s warm texture with their compositions, Betke ripped those sounds apart for the digital age. And if the intervening decade has proven anything, it is that Pole’s innovations were too big to forget.

04. Various Artists, FXHE: Collected [FXHE Records] (buy)
Soundhack, Soundkit EP [Soundhack] (buy)

First things first: FXHE: Collected and the reissue of Soundhack’s “Soundkit EP” are necessary deals with the devil. FXHE: Collected comes with a sub-title “Vinyl classics now digital” and “Soundkit EP” originally came from Hard Wax, whose first foray into CDs had “Buy Vinyl!” emblazoned on it. But after another difficult year for distributors (RIP Neuton, among others), 2008 might be the year when even vinyl-only labels were forced to recognize the importance of the digital format. Thankfully, FXHE: Collected is a fine introduction to the label and owner, Alex (Omar-S)mith. Beginning with FXHE’s 2008 highlights “Psychotic Photosynthesis” and “The Further You Look – The Less You’ll See,” the compilation touches upon past glories like “Day” and “The Grand Son of Detroit Techno.” “Soundkit EP” sounds just as fresh; Soundhack’s (aka Frank Timm) avant-glitch-dance music might have anticipated The Field’s melody drenched loops (“Scraper”), but the funk foundations of “Double Hammer” and “Funkyrule” hit the hardest. The two releases also show off what’s changed in the digital landscape — both are distributed as ‘Beatport Exclusives.’

05. Quiet Village, Silent Movie [Studio !K7] (buy)
Quiet Village is a conceptual music project from the duo of Matt Edwards and Joel Martin. They began by releasing their singles on Whatever We Want, which for all practical purposes, doubles as contemporary art factor, peddling pieces of vinyl scarce and in demand enough to command large sums of money almost instantly upon release. Because Quiet Village is conceptual, they do “live shows” where they play the CD of Silent Movie with an accompanying montage of cult movies. Because Quiet Village is conceptual, they release “compilations” where they re-edit old songs and claim the new songs as their own. You might not know it, but Silent Movie reissues lost gems from artists like Alan Parsons, Trade Mark, and Giorgio Moroder, all re-edited and finely honed. In other words, Silent Movie is a schlocky, bad taste update on Endtroducing. And with the popularizing of re-edits, which has seen their role shift from “for friends only” to “thousands of clamoring fans,” Silent Movie might be the best example of how ownership is playing out in 2008, with artists trying to cover their legal bases and claiming they “wrote” all their re-edits.

harpomarx42  on December 14, 2008 at 10:21 PM

Years from now, the Nah und Fern, 123, and BCD-1/2/M will be remembered as some of the greatest albums produced in this eon.

UFOtoZion  on December 15, 2008 at 11:10 AM


hutlock  on December 15, 2008 at 12:33 PM

I think they already are!

(Harpo: By BCD-M, are you referring to the Maurizio comp? I NEVER hear people talking about that these days, but I’ll be damned if at the time I wasn’t looking forward more to the next Maurizio release than the next Basic Channel…)

james kartsaklis  on December 15, 2008 at 2:09 PM

The Maurizio comp is my favorite of the lot, as well. Just a vaguely different vibe to those tracks that I really enjoy. All relative, though – not like there’s a steep drop in quality between M- and BC-.

littlewhiteearbuds  on December 15, 2008 at 2:14 PM

M-Series is definitely my favorite from the BC clan, with the Main Street Records series following closely behind.

harpomarx42  on December 15, 2008 at 3:09 PM

Indeed. I have yet to find a physical copy of the M-Series. Have they disappeared off of the face of the earth?

M5 is a personal fave.

littlewhiteearbuds  on December 15, 2008 at 3:13 PM

Dear boy, have you heard of this thing called Google? ­čśŤ


chris  on December 15, 2008 at 6:38 PM

no love for vladislav delay’s ‘anima’?

it’s so good i would seriously have an existential crisis if i were to make this list, picking between it and nah und fern for number 1.

Andrew  on December 16, 2008 at 4:21 AM

i’d have put the schatrax 12″s on here

cbfunk  on December 16, 2008 at 8:17 AM

although i agree with FXHE & Soundkit,
i must say i’m totally NOT down with the
“beatport exclusives” thing going on!
bad times lay ahead of us…

Nightowl  on December 20, 2008 at 11:14 AM

totally agree. these re-issues are the real sh**!!!

Nightowl  on December 23, 2008 at 2:05 AM

another one: ron trent – altered states. timeless, as we all know.

Bernardo  on December 24, 2008 at 5:25 PM

┬┤Altered States┬┤ was repressed? Yikes…need to get on that.

The best reissue this year was the Ron Hardy edit of ┬┤I can┬┤t stay away┬┤…so, so, so sick!

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