Best Of The Represses: Feb 2016

Although I imagine there are plenty of disco/soul/krautrock/industrial fans who will disagree with me, February has not been a classic month for all things repressy. We’re once again in the run up to the dubious pleasures of Record Store Day, and you wonder how many decent re-releases have been held back to fatten that particular calf. Even so, there have been a few interesting bits and pieces here and there. Let’s get down to brass tacks:

I-F: Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass (Viewlexx)

The Viewlexx/Murdercapital axis continue to pump out the quality re-releases with this repress of I-F’s seminal Space Invaders are Smoking Grass. Fair enough, it’s probably about the 6000th time this has been put back out, the last occasion being in 2014, but you would have to be a bit of a sod to knock it for that reason. Space Invaders… remains one of the finest tunes of the last 20 years. Its robot vocals, sawing bassline, and scruffy beats hoist all manner of melodies and catchy hooks on their shoulders in a way that neither techno nor electro are usually comfortable doing – or capable of. The rest of the EP is a pretty strong offering. In particular Playstation #2 delights big time with its unhinged acid soaked playground skank. Look, you’ve all probably got this, but buy it again: It really is that good. One of those rare records that’s as important as it is funky.

Paul Johnson: 11PM Music/2AM Music (Dance Mania)

There’s a decent chunk of Dance Mania wax flying around at the moment, and this reissue of Johnson’s 11PM Music/2AM Music is one of two DM records from the Chicago master’s incredible mid 90s period to get the repressed and remastered treatment. It’s top stuff, tying the two prime Chi-town jackers on the A side to the deeper groovers on the flip. The Speaker Buster is guaranteed to do exactly that, while Don’t Stop Movin That Ass slaps out a raw, dirty stomp that’s still snarling after 20 years. The B side carries the tunes deeper, with a couple of ultra-smoothies that float and caress, and equal the A side’s bumptious energy with grace, style and languid mood. This DM repress thing could really get interesting….(DJ Funk’s Street Traxx II next, please.)

Octave One: – The X-Files (430 West)

Just when you thought that getting your eyes on some fresh Mulder and Sculley madness was the pinnacle of X-Files related nostalgia along comes Octave One in the form of 1994’s double EP. A great record, it nevertheless loses points for the fact all of it’s track names appear culled from Star Trek rather than the show in question. Sci-Fi TV grog nitpicking aside, though, this is one of those records which no DJ would have been without at a certain point of time, a fact represented in some silly Discogsing over the years. It represents a period where Octave One really began to hit their stride and really began to move away from their original housey sound towards one that was sharper, more techno, and heavy with deep, snaking grooves. Stand out tunes are the rugged, crashing funk of Dema, and The Neutral Zone’s juiced up, loose-limbed high-tech space soul. A classy reminder of how good a band they are. Please though, 420 West, please sort out whatever license issues there are with the Direct Beat Stuff. We actually, physically need some Aux 88 represses and we need them now.