Best Of The Represses: March 2016

I’ve been dreading this a little bit. I’ll be honest, I’ve barely bought any represses at all this month, preferring instead to throw money at a selection of Discogs sellers instead. Well, sometimes you have to, don’t you? especially when it seems that someone, something, out there is deliberately finding ways to stop the records and bands you actually want from getting repressed. The best of the lot were probably the blink-and-you’ll-miss-em represses of Clone’s rather lovely remastered Drexciya compendiums. Well, I say ‘repress’ but to be honest I think that term is becoming a bit pointless, seeing as how it seems to be increasingly confused with ‘back in the shops’. Doesn’t matter. The Drexciya stuff, regardless of the actual situation, is still utterly worth picking up – even if you already own all of the original releases already. You’d expect me to say that, though. The other highlight was probably the sneaky reappearance of one of the Three Chairs supergroup’s 12″s on the back of a bunch of Sound Signature reissues. Other than that, it was a fairly quiet month for anyone who thinks music was better ‘back then’.

Yep, call me jaded if you want, you’d wouldn’t be too far off the mark. Still, There were a couple of things worth picking up if you haven’t done so already:

Joy Orbison – Hyph Mngo (Hotflush)

I’m not going to embarrass myself by wittering on like a fanny about garage or dubstep or UK bass because the fact is I know sod all about any of it, except little bits and pieces here and there. What I do know is that I first heard Orbison’s name in connection with The Trilogy Tapes and Hinge Finger, which means I’m pretty late to the party. This is a repress of his first release from 2009, out originally on Scuba’s Hotflush label, and it got caught in my ears about the same time I started paying real attention to a bunch of other UK labels and acts a couple of years back. Like I said, I know sweet FA about any of the scene stuff, but I’ve got a lot of time for this deceptively subtle mover and that’s really all that matters. B Side Wet Look is, I think, even better: Deep, evolving, and tough.

Fingers Inc – Another Side (Alleviated)

I have no idea whether this is another repress or a warehouse find or whatever, but there appear to be copies of last year’s remastered edition of one of house music’s rare, decent, album length records currently available at a couple of stores. Any record which brings together Larry Heard, Robert Owens and Ron Wilson is going to be regarded as a true classic just on merit of the talent involved alone, and 1988’s Another Side certainly deserves its place in history. Musically, if I’m honest, it’s a wee bit much over 4 side of vinyl, and the feeling is occasionally akin to drowning in a sea of mid 80s synth pop and funk-lite. But when you hit the true, honest to God, classics like Bring Down The Walls or Distant Planet everything begins to make sense. And if there has ever been another house tune that even comes close to Can You Feel It’s endless, infinite, gentle beauty, I haven’t heard it.

Floorplan – Never Grow Old (M Plant)

Even though Floorplan has always been more one of Robert Hood’s more accessible projects, focused as it is on lighter, more dancefloor friendly sounds than the apocalyptic, naked grooves that usually bare his name, I have to admit to being surprised by how popular this tune became. Taken from the 2013 album, Paradise, a record that’s in the dictionary as the definition of ‘patchy’, the original of this was one of the big belters on that release. It’s a huge tune – no mistake about that – so big that I have my doubts whether there is anyone on earth who is still to buy a copy. But that’s just cynical me talking, and for those of you who have’t heard it (yeah, right) you’re in for a treat. It’s a smasher, and one of those rare tunes that seemed to get played by everyone everywhere regardless of how underground they were.

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