The Best Re-Issues of 2008

Artist: Pole
Album: 1 2 3
Label: ~Scape
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/p/pole-123.jpg
US Release Date: 2008-08-05
UK Release Date: 2008-08-04

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List number: 20

Like Gas’ Nah und Fern, a recent reissue set of minimal electronic music, 1 2 3 is more than most can handle in one sitting. The formula barely changes from track to track, or album to album: clicks and pops, whizzing filter sweeps, anemic synth stabs and rumbling bass. The formula doesn’t budge, but it’s a winner from track one. The result of an accidentally dropped four-pole filter (thus the name), the whirrs, cuts, and pops of the first three Pole albums are dub and techno, reduced to microsound particulate. 1, the most timid of the three, is a slowly evolving sand castle of blips, wavelets and chirps.

Things get a little more relaxed on 2 and 3, the latter listing along with more present bass and a generally slower pass. “Überfahrt” (from 3) sounds like smoke slowly rising and trembling lids over bloodshot eyes, compared to “Tanzen” (from 1), a rapidly forming lattice of microscopic dancehall skank. It’s a subtle progression, but Pole becomes a more relaxed and expanded presence over three albums. So maybe the comment earlier about the difficulty of listening to 1 2 3 in one sitting was incorrect. Just make sure you’re sitting on something soft by the time 3 takes over. David AbravanelPole: 1 2 3

Artist: Susumu Yokota
Album: The Skintone Collection
Label: Lo
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/t/the-skintone-collection.jpg
US Release Date: 2008-01-15
UK Release Date: 2007-10-23

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List number: 19

When Susumu Yokota is not making music, he’s making more music. So, there’s perhaps no one more deserving of this fitting primer (compiled by Chiller Cabinet’s Ben Eshmade) on the intimidating back catalogue of the often brilliant electronic genius. Those coming to this album in a wintry climate will not be disappointed. I can attest to the fact that the warm and inviting melodies perform perfect room tone for staring into the fireplace or out the window on a snowy day. Yokota’s compositions here assimilate the pastoral into the technological with deftness and considerable charm. Traditional Eastern instruments meet with Aphexy otherworldly atmospherics, haiku-like melodies, and the occasional wonderfully lost bottom-of-a-canyon/ top-of-a-mountain/ trapped in a dream echo vocal. Most impressive of all, Eshmade assembles Yokota’s work so it sounds like a continuum, from the deep space droning of Laputa‘s Labradford-esque “Iconic Air” to the Debussy remix “Purple Rose Minuet” off Yokota’s 2005 album Symbol to the youthful sugar high breakbeat bounce of “Illusion River”. Yokota fulfills the kind of utopian fantasy of Japan as alien grace and wonderment energy dome that Sofia Copolla’s Lost in Translation waxed all awed mute about. You can never be more than a tourist, a passenger at best, on his journey, but you’ll be thinking about the trip for years to come. Timothy Gabriele

Susumu Yokota – Kodomotachi (Night of the Hunter recut)Susumu Yokota: The Skintone Collection

Artist: Roy Harper
Album: Stormcock
Label: Harvest
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/h/harper-stormcock.jpg
US Release Date: 1971-01-01

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List number: 18

A close friend and inspiration to Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, the last minute substitute singer for Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar”, a strong influence on Joanna Newsom’s Ys, Roy Harper has been a cult obsession for decades. Yet only now, after decades of State-side inaccessibility, are his classic albums getting a re-release. His best-seller Flat Baroque and Berserk still coruscates with its acid “I Hate the White Man”, still rollicks with the Nice-assisted “Hell’s Angel”, while 1984’s Jugula showcases an explosive, electric blues entente with Jimmy Page. But it’s Stormcock, with its four folk mini-symphonies — and particularly the final, haunting “Me and My Woman” — that makes the case for Harper as the 1960s genius that got away… at least until now. Jennifer Kelly

Roy Harper – One of Those Days in EnglandRoy Harper: Stormcock

Artist: Various Artists
Album: Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump
Label: Strut
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/n/nigeria_70.jpg
US Release Date: 2008-04-15

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List number: 17

The aughts have been kind to fans of Afrobeat, Afro-funk, and Afro-pop, with re-issue compilations like Luaka Bop’s World Psychedelic Classics 3: Love’s a Real Thing – The Funky Fuzzy Sounds of West Africa and BBE’s Hugh Masakela Presents: The Chisa Years 1965-1975 (Rare and Unreleased) bringing hard-to-find cuts to the masses in recent years. Strut’s Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump is one of many notable compilations of ’70s-era Nigerian music released this year alone, and one of the best -– voices call and respond, guitars slice and bob and weave, rhythm sections anchor the tides of ecstasy, hope, and juju groove. Prickly psychedelia and garage-rock pop up from time to time, particularly on tracks like Ify Jerry Krusade’s “Everybody Likes Something Good” and the Immortals’ “Hot Tears”, adding hot sauce to an already delectable dish of movement, truth, and emotional muscle. Zeth Lundy

Various Artists: Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump

Artist: 808 State
Album: 90 / ex:el / Gorgeous / Don Solaris
Label: ZTT
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/8/808state.jpg
US Release Date: 2008

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List number: 16

808 State were signed to ZTT on the strength of “Pacific State”, a chart-topping hit that to this day is their crowning achievement. So why focus on everything that came after it? Because 808 State are one of the few acts to truly strive for a kind of global art form, at once exotic and local, futuristic and looking to the past, electronic and acoustic. Trumpeter John Hassell described a “fourth world” of music which would embrace these seemingly opposed concepts. 808 State were geographically from Manchester, and shot to fame in the late ’80s, but something as sublime as “Lopez” or as massive as “Cübik” cannot be thrust into the confines of the Madchester craze.

To their detractors, 808 State went downhill after ex:el, turning to new age muzak. These same detractors would label other such nakedly honest attempts at utopian euphoria as pap –- see the lukewarm reception of Mercury Rev’s recent output. Truth told, there’s some suspense of disbelief involved here. But if you can exit the cynicism inherent in the crap pile known as modern indie music, revisiting 808 State is just the right ride. David Abravanel

808 State – Cübik808 State: 90 / ex:el / Gorgeous / Don Solaris

Artist: Pavement
Album: Brighten the Corners
Subtitle: Nicene Creedence Edition
Label: Matador
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/5/51zkg4ewcbl.jpg
First date: 1997-02-11
US Release Date: 2008-12-09
UK Release Date: Available as import

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List number: 15

I’ll admit that it’s odd to think that an album released just last decade is in need of the deluxe re-issue treatment so soon. Do we really have the clear-headed hindsight necessary to deem Pavement a “classic” worthy of catalog reassessment, and if so, is it premature to complicate a good thing with gluttonous extras? Or, more simply: at a time when less is more, when economic hardship trumps sentimental rehash, is such a thing even ideologically prudent? Matador’s two-disc “Nicene Creedence Edition” of Pavement’s greatest album, Brighten the Corners, doesn’t provoke this kind of dilemma -– it is unusually successful in that its trove of outtakes, b-sides, and live radio sessions (32 extra tracks, to be exact) dwarf the original record’s tracklist while offering nearly consistent quality. It’s great fun to hear the band’s sloppy mastery of its long-developed aesthetic, especially on outtakes like “Then (The Hexx)”, where Stephen Malkmus shouts out the changes and directs his bandmates, effectively puncturing the idea of Pavement as an untrained absurdity. Zeth Lundy

Pavement – Shady LanePavement: Brighten the Corners

Artist: Mogwai
Album: Young Team (Deluxe Edition)
Label: Chemikal Underground
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/m/mogwai-youngteam.jpg
First date: 1997-10-21
US Release Date: 2008-05-27
UK Release Date: 2008-05-26

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List number: 14

There’s an old adage about turds and the inability to polish them, but what about gold nuggets? Can you make them shinier? According to this re-mastered re-release of Mogwai’s debut album, the answer is a resounding yes. Initially thrust on an unsuspecting public back in 1997, Young Team was a towering force of glacial song structures that ebbed and flowed with epochal peaks, lilting melodies, and murmured vocals. But despite its lauded status as a post-rock masterpiece, the band members were never satisfied with its initial incarnation. This re-mastered version rectifies this issue by delineating the sounds, making the louder moments much more deafening and the quieter passages more pronounced. Unfortunately (unlike the album which is required listening for owners of the original due to its production do-over), the extras -– live tracks, b-sides, and a Spaceman 3 cover — are interesting if not entirely essential. But this record isn’t about the extras; it’s about a band’s true vision finally seeing the light of day and a brilliant album sounding even better. Kevin Pearson

Mogwai – Summer (Live on French TV in 1998)Mogwai: Young Team (Deluxe Edition)

Artist: Beck
Album: Odelay [Deluxe Edition]
Label: Geffen
Contributors: dust brothers
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/b/beck-odelay.jpg
First date: 1996-06-18
US Release Date: 2008-01-29
UK Release Date: 2008-02-18

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List number: 13

Despite my sideburns and overgrown hair, I didn’t dig Odelay when it came out a dozen years ago, but I gave the deluxe edition a chance. I’ll confess to being hooked by the extras, including a too-short Thurston Moore essay, and a hilarious set of interviews with high schoolers by the good version of Dave Eggers. The bonus tracks are worth it, 13 respectable b-sides, and the assorted remix/unreleased stuff. But none of that would matter if the music didn’t hold up. After a decade of proliferating mash-up artists and genre pastichists, Odelay still sounds like a party going on, or at least like the way you’d want a party to be, playful and curiosity-filled. If it doesn’t sound dated, it doesn’t sound fully removed from its time either, utilizing an ironic self-effacement, delineating an aesthetic, and creating space way from that year’s chart-toppers like “Wannabe” and “Wonderwall”. While “Devils Haircut” and “Where It’s At” get the attention, this reissue has plenty that’s more worth looking back at. Justin Cober-Lake

Beck – Where It’s AtBeck: Odelay [Deluxe Edition]

Artist: Mission of Burma
Album: Horrible Truth about Burma / Signals, Calls, and Marches / Vs.
Label: Matador
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/m/mission_of_burma.jpg
US Release Date: 2008
UK Release Date: 2008

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List number: 12

Some reissues are set-up to preserve the original sound of the album. Others are packed with bonus tracks and pages of liner notes, meant to update the album and give it a new relevance. With these Mission of Burma reissues, Matador has managed to do both. The albums include only a few bonus tracks each, but all are solid outtakes that reaffirm their brilliance for fans in the know and paint them as a sturdy and consistently fantastic rock band for newcomers. Any music fan, period, would appreciate the insightful interviews included in the liner notes, detailing the making of the band’s small discography. The DVDs included show, on charmingly fuzzy VHS tape, an infectiously exciting band on stage that sound as good live as they do on record. And the photos included show the guys not as a bunch of pretentious art students making “difficult” music, but a bunch of dudes in flannel and jeans making rock music that happens to sound like no other rock music you ever heard.

But the best thing these reissues do is preserve the original documents. The remastered albums sound clean and crisp, but not at all digitized or updated. They sound like someone took a deep breath and blew a thick layer of dust off the cans, and that light touch goes a long way in holding onto the albums’ original energy and bite. They also keep the bonus tracks separate from the albums themselves, going so far as to put them on a whole other record in the vinyl copies. There are even breaks fit into the middle of the CDs, indicating the side break built into the original records. All in all, Matador focused on the details to make these reissues special. It had been only five years since the last time the band’s discography had been reissued, but after these excellent editions, that last batch of disc feels awfully dated. Matt Fiander

Mission of Burma: Horrible Truth about Burma / Signals, Calls, and Marches / Vs.

Artist: Love
Album: Forever Changes
Subtitle: Collector’s Edition
Label: Rhino
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Forever-Changes-Love/dp/B0015D3YX6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1210709281&sr=1-1
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/l/love-foreverchanges-collectorsedition.jpg
First date: 1967-11-01
US Release Date: 2008-04-22
UK Release Date: 2008-04-28

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List number: 11

If 2008 had to be summed up by one word, it would be hard to argue against “change”. Not only did Barack Obama offer us “Change We Can Believe In”, his subsequent election as America’s first African-American President solidified that shift. Arthur Lee, Love’s enigmatic lead singer, was all too familiar with turning tides. As well as penning a plethora of psychedelic, folk inflected pop — the best of which can be found on this 1967 album — he also spent five years in prison, and an even longer time in obscurity, before passing away in 2006. It would be interesting to hear what Lee, who sang “we’re all normal and we want our freedom”, would think of America’s current social and political permutations. And while this re-issue offers fans very little in terms of new material -– an alternate mix and several extra songs, many of which were included on a prior re-release -– its title and lyrical content make for a timely and relevant revisit. Kevin Pearson

Love – Alone Again Or and A House Is Not a MotelLove: Forever Changes

10-1

Artist: Steinski
Album: What Does It All Mean?
Subtitle: 1983-2006 Retrospective
Label: Illegal Art
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/s/steinski-whatdoesitallmean.jpg
US Release Date: 2008-05-27
UK Release Date: 2008-05-27

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List number: 10

Within hip-hop history, Steve Stein aka Steinski is an unlikely icon, a writer working in advertising who co-created a sampling classic as a record label contest entry. Of course that story is just a reminder of the unlikely innovation inherent in the invention of hip-hop as music. What Does It All Mean? is a dizzying two-CD trip through Steinski’s brain, from that opening salvo (“The Payoff Mix”) he created with Double Dee through to a haunting track he did using recordings from 9/11. And of course by Steinski’s brain I mean the collective brain and memory of us all, since the building blocks for these songs are popular culture and American society. More than just the story of one artist, this collection tells the story of how ideas and creations live myriad lives of their own, of how everyone and everything lives on through sampling. Dave Heaton

Steinski: What Does It All Mean?

Artist: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Album: Dazzle Ships
Label: Caroline
Label: Virgin
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/o/orchestralmanoeuvresinthedark-dazzleships.jpg
First date: 1983
US Release Date: 2008-04-15
UK Release Date: 2008-03-03

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List number: 9

Dazzle Ships was so prescient it wasn’t even cool. Literally. In 1983, a British pop album about genetic engineering, Nicaraguan terrorists, and Eastern Bloc industrial techniques was nothing short of baffling. That it was heavy on then-nascent digital sampling technology and featured several musique concrete-style sound collages spelled commercial suicide for a band that was following up a run of international hits. A quarter century later, though, Dazzle Ships‘ grappling with the push-and-pull among technology, politics, and human compassion in troubled times was downright timely. Plus, the combinations of electronic and organic sounds were still fascinating, Andy McCluskey’s impassioned vocals went straight to the heart, and any hokey elements were self-consciously so. All of this meant Dazzle Ships could be appreciated as a direct predecessor to albums like Radiohead’s OK Computer and Kid A. It’s becoming all-too-common to re-brand yesterday’s commercial failures as “overlooked masterpieces”, but Dazzle Ships‘ critical salvage job was well-deserved. John Bergstrom

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – ABC Auto Industry

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Genetic EngineeringOrchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Dazzle Ships

Artist: Liz Phair
Album: Exile in Guyville
Label: ATO
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/p/phairliz-exileinguyville.jpg
US Release Date: 2008-06-24
UK Release Date: 2008-06-23

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List number: 8

Liz Phair’s first album was not only one of the previous decade’s most astonishing debuts, but also one of its most celebrated releases, period. For all of the DIY ingenuity, casual dirty talk and music-nerd-baiting claims of the record as an opaque song-by-song response to the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street, the greatness of Exile in Guyville lies solely in the sheer effortless brilliance of the songwriting. Whether it’s the garage rock swagger of “Never Said”, the sardonic folk-pop narrative of “Divorce Song”, the libidinous fury of “Flower” or the ghostly slow-burn of “Shatter”, Guyville is, much like the sex that Phair so frequently and unflinchingly describes throughout, simply an amazingly pleasurable experience. Spruced up with some hit-and-miss bonus tracks (the stark “Ant in Alaska” is a hidden gem, the rest are filler) and a rambling documentary DVD, this reissue may not entirely live up to lofty fan expectations (where are all of those Girlysound demos, anyway?). However, for putting a now-legitimately-classic album back in the public consciousness, the existence of this set could not be more welcome or essential. Jer Fairall

Liz Phair – Never SaidLiz Phair: Exile in Guyville

Artist: Bob Dylan
Album: Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006
Label: Columbia
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/d/dylanbob-telltalesignsthebootlegseriesvol8rareandunreleased19892006.jpg
US Release Date: 2008-10-07
UK Release Date: 2008-10-06

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List number: 7

If there is indeed a pool of the collective subconscious that we may all dip into from time to time, then Bob Dylan swims there frequently. He’s been able to adopt whole personas, narrate across generations, and sing a song of true heartbreak that can only come from personal experience. He’s maybe the only musician who can adopt another’s perspective without ever seeming the impostor. Tell Tale Signs gives the public more, and more is what we should always take from this man. A different take on a song takes away the sardonic edge and imbues existential sadness into the sound (“Most of the Time”). A tune that didn’t make the final cut on a studio album only begs the question, “Why not?” (“Dreamin’ of You”). Or take any of the live tracks and hear how supreme confidence and professionalism only allow for more, not less, emotion and spontaneity. In a world that seemed just a little more fragile this year, it was sincerely comforting to have Bob Dylan around. Jill Labrack

Bob Dylan – Mississippi (live)Bob Dylan: Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006

Artist: Nick Lowe
Album: Jesus of Cool
Subtitle: 30th Anniversary Edition
Label: Yep Roc
Contributors: the attractions, the rumour, rockpile
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/l/lowenick-jesusofcool.jpg
First date: 1978-03-01
US Release Date: 2008-02-19
UK Release Date: 2008-02-18

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List number: 6

Long unavailable on CD, Nick Lowe’s Jesus of Cool merged punk’s sneering, reflexive attitude with meticulous Beatlesque songcraft. From the headline-grabbing title (altered to Pure Pop for Now People in the U.S.) to the trendhopping artwork, Lowe was unafraid to shock and even less afraid to coat his sarcastic, petulant commentaries in instantly accessible melodies. Yep Roc’s remastered upgrade puts a pristine sheen on the once-fuzzy tracks, and adds some supreme rarities, including a gloriously subversive “Born a Woman” cover and the smug industry-politics diatribe “I Love My Label”. Full of stylistic shapeshifting (disco, rockabilly, teen idol bubblegum) and winking goofs, Jesus draws on a euphonic past to chart a self-aware future, resulting in 11 timeless, ahead-of-their-time, gamut-running songs. The seductive lover’s ode “Tonight” could become a standard, while the deliciously tasteless “Marie Provost” is quite possibly the catchiest song about a Dachshund feasting on a movie star’s rotting corpse ever written. Charles Hohman

Nick Lowe – Little HitlerNick Lowe: Jesus of Cool

Artist: Dennis Wilson
Album: Pacific Ocean Blue
Subtitle: Legacy Edition
Label: Epic
Label: Sony Legacy
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Pacific-Ocean-Blue-Dennis-Wilson/dp/B00104CIN2/ref=bxgy_cc_m_img_a
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/w/wilson-dennis-poblegacy.jpg
Website: http://www.pacificoceanblue.net
First date: 1977-08-22
US Release Date: 2008-06-17
UK Release Date: 2008-06-16

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List number: 5

For 17 years, the solo albums recorded by the only genuine Beach Boy have been the reserve of those willing to deal with bootlegs or to spend nearly $100 on eBay. Thirty-one years after the only Beach Boy who lived it like he sang it recorded his opus, Sony finally reissued it along with the never previously released and unfinished Bambu. This long-term unavailability has ensured that these two records have attained a near-mythical status, much like Wilson’s more celebrated brother’s Smile before them. Wilson’s weary, coke-ravaged vocals add a raw-throated appeal to a sprawling collection of Southern Californian pop that takes in gospel (“River Song”), ’70s rock (“Dreamer”) and stripped-down ballads (“Thoughts of You”). The harder-rocking Bambu isn’t quite the masterpiece that Pacific Ocean Blue is, but this two-disc collection is proof that Dennis shared not only his brother Brian’s psychological issues, but his gifts of arrangement and melody. James BassettDennis Wilson: Pacific Ocean Blue

Artist: Big Dipper
Album: Supercluster
Subtitle: The Big Dipper Anthology
Label: Merge
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/b/bigdipper-supercluster.jpg
US Release Date: 2008-03-18
UK Release Date: 2008-03-18

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List number: 4

This lost 1980s band started as a songwriter’s collective –- in casual sessions on Bill Goffrier’s Boston porch, with Volcano Suns refugee Gary Waleik — and grew into Homestead’s raucous pop-crossed-with-punk touring machine. The band made an ill-starred jump to Sire in 1989, then foundered in neglect and unkept promises, recording a whole album worth of songs that never saw the light of day. This three-disc set collects all but Sire-issued Slam from the band’s too brief catalogue -– from the jittery jangle Boo Boo to the radiant Heavens to headlong rush of Craps. The sardonic, angry, yet very tuneful cuts (“Wake Up the King”, “Lifetime Achievement Award”) from never-released Very Loud Array are included as well, plus alternate takes and demos. It’s a glimpse into a late 1980s/early 1990s indie alternative universe that never happened, one where jagged songs about UFOs and the Loch Ness Monster ruled the airwaves, and pop was sweetly anarchic but never dull. Jennifer Kelly

Big Dipper: Supercluster

Artist: Gas
Album: Nah Und Fern
Label: Kompakt
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/g/gas-nahundfern.jpg
US Release Date: 2008-06-10
UK Release Date: 2008-06-02

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List number: 3

When Mille Plateaux kicked the bucket in 2004, the four Gas albums under its auspices — Gas (1996), Zauberberg (1998), Königsforst (1999) and Pop (2000) — went out of print and began to sell for unthinkable prices. I bought them anyhow, and repeatedly argued with myself over whether I’d made a stupid move. I was $300 poorer, but the music was so special that perhaps the price tags made some sort of weird sense. Luckily this will all be moot for anyone patient enough to hold out for Nah und Fern, a remastered four-disc set containing all of Gas’s full-length output for about half of what one CD used to cost alone.

There’s no better time for Kompakt (co-owned by Gas, née Wolfgang Voigt) to share this with the world. Ambient music is gaining momentum, and Voigt’s thumbprint is all over the work of Olaf Dettinger, Markus Guentner, The Field’s Axel Willner, Yagya’s Aalsteinn Gumundsson, and nearly everyone on 12k. Regardless of its historical importance, Nah und Fern contains some of the most breathtaking music in the entire ambient electronic canon. Voigt took classical music from composers like Wagner and melted it down into a deep, rich liquid, distilling it to its sonic essence. Often he would add a muted 50 Hz kick drum — more dreamy than clubby — to push the tracks forward; ironically, this only reinforced their sense of endlessness. But the reason Gas’s work stands tall among the fold is because it doesn’t simply create an atmosphere; these rivers of sound possess such luxurious depth that they seem to penetrate the skin and move throughout the body, such that the music isn’t just lovely or enjoyable — it’s actually therapeutic. One decade and several thousand ambient albums later, it remains a singular experience. Mike NewmarkGas: Nah Und Fern

Artist: The Replacements
Album: Hootenanny / Let It Be / Pleased to Meet Me / Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash / Stink / Tim
Label: Rhino
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/r/replacements-reissues.jpg
US Release Date: 2008

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List number: 2

When Twin Tone reissued the early Replacements catalog in 2002, although it was nice to see those old albums in record stores again, we couldn’t help but feel a little cheated by the dubious “remastering” and complete lack of bonus material. Six years later, much to the elation of longtime fans, Rhino finally took the bull by the horns and released fully remastered, expanded versions of the Minneapolis legends’ seven albums and one EP, and the end results are glorious, most of the albums boasting significant sound improvements and each disc brimming with demos, B-sides, and live tracks. The somewhat shrill Pleased to Meet Me is given a slightly cozier mix, 1985’s lovable Tim sounds punchier, and 1989’s All Shook Down, dismissed when it first came out, has aged gracefully. Best of the lot, though, is the spectacular spit and polish given to the classic Let It Be, as well as the raucous Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash, which is appended by the band’s astounding demos, recorded in 1980. Sure, it’s shameless nostalgia from we in Gen X, but like the dude said, it beats pickin’ cotton and waitin’ to be forgotten. Adrien Begrand

The Replacements: Hootenanny / Let It Be / Pleased to Meet Me / Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash / Stink / Tim

Artist: New Order
Album: Brotherhood / Low-Life / Movement / Power Corruption & Lies / Technique
Label: Rhino
Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/n/new-order.jpg
US Release Date: 2008
UK Release Date: 2008

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List number: 1

Yeah, to be fair, the first printings were marred by various production problems –- a regrettable lapse considering how long people have been waiting for appropriate reissues of these seminal albums. But any dismay over printing errors -– soon to be redressed! -– should necessarily fade before general enthusiasm over finally seeing these albums remastered and repackaged in a format befitting their significance. Hyperbole doesn’t really enter into it: these albums are Ground Zero for so much of contemporary dance music, indie pop and even mainstream rock that it’s almost harder to find contemporary bands who aren’t influenced by New Order than to count those who are. And, finally, the albums have been salvaged from their woeful CD mastering and placed in a context with the 12” dance versions and remixes that made their name in the clubs. New Order was that rarest of creatures, both a classic singles band and a truly transcendent albums band, and any opportunity to revisit one of the most influential, diverse, and still strangely underrated oeuvres in all of contemporary pop is gratefully welcomed. Tim O’Neil

New Order – Blue Monday

New Order – Bizarre Love TriangleNew Order: Brotherhood / Low-Life / Movement / Power Corruption & Lies / Technique

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