30.9.17

101-200

Corpsey at Dissensus asked me to do this, so I've obliged. I was glad for the prompt actually.

Since I put the original 100 together in December 2005 I have occasionally considered doing it again. The motivation to revisit it is threefold:
i) To add things I could have included. Or, perhaps, adding stuff I "ought" to have included before. Stone classics that I may have avoided because their presence was implied.
ii) To add records I hadn't heard yet. The subsequent 12 years of constant listening and collecting has thrown up a lot of excellent material. 
iii) To add records which hadn't been released yet. There's probably 10-12 of these which hadn't even come out in 2005.
It ought to be obvious that I approach music in terms of objects. I'm old-fashioned in the way that for me the "format" is the body to the music's soul. The 100 selection was predicated on the same principle to an extent that, as the scenery was only just beginning to dissolve around us, can't have been entirely obvious. I don't think I questioned this bias myself; it probably didn't even occur to me.

The "list" itself has since become the tool of the database. RYM, something I often look to, is the pre-eminent example of this, but there are lots of "accumulators" pulling together musical surveys based on the opinions of millions of people. However, you only have to reflect on the fact that Radiohead's "OK Computer" - basically a shit LP - not even their best work - is now widely touted as "The Greatest Album Of All-time" to conclude that data ain't all that. For my money the personal list, with all its warts, is a thousand times more illuminating.

How did I pull it together? Magical thinking at the end of the day. As I went through my collection, and there's no more accurate way of describing the process, certain things "looked" at me. It took five days to arrange (in between chores). At the end it was extremely difficult to throw things out and to whittle it down. I felt a little like a beast surveying a herd - scheming over which animals looked weak and could be picked off...

Where do these records fit with the others? Well firstly there is NO RANKING here at all (unlike on the other list). I guess I see this 100 interleaving the other 100. CAN's "Ege Bamyasi", Sly's "There's A Riot Going On" and The Kinks "Village Green" should probably be on the top though.

Dis[s]claimer: The list is entirely subjective, but I'm entitled to the opinion that it's a carefully considered vision of what music is and ought to be. It isn't trendy and it doesn't seek to prop up anyone's idea of what's canonical. It shouldn't really need pointing out that I'm not bothered what anyone thinks about it - but if you can get something out of it, well yeah, knock yourself out.

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Model 500: Night Drive (Thru Babylon). Tech-gnosis. Urban ritual. Laying bare the fragile, porous fabric of space and time.


Keith Hudson: Pick A Dub. The reissue with Mat Cook's lovely cover. The heaviest, most majestic and most satisfyingly brutal Dub LP of them all. The Barrett brothers on drum and bass slaying it.


CAN: Ege Bamyasi. The CD. Because you can play it really loud.


Hard Leaders: The History Of Drum and Bass. E-Z man's magnum opus. Almost cheating with this volume of music as a single item. It's a real desert Island selection because three of the four discs are peerless; a real motherlode of the finest Hardcore.


Cuba Gooding: Happiness Is Just Round The Bend. Just so much fun! With the future, just around the bend, glinting maniacally in its eye.


Musical Instruments: Guitars. Absolutely gorgeous twofer of African guitar recorded by maestro Hugh Tracey. Somewhere between a field recording and urban pop documentary.


Alva Noto: Prototypes. Digital music incarnate. Architectural.


Baby D: Daydreaming. Tactically shambolic.


A Tribe Called Quest: The Low End Theory. Hard knocks High School.


Meat Puppets: II. The point at which the wheels started coming off Hardcore, visionary music held back by the label for ages (recorded well before "Zen Arcade"). The Meats take LSD in the Mojave desert and work on their tasty licks.


Panda Bear: Person Pitch. Panda cuts loose from the Animal Collective and unleashes the sound of freedom.


Big Audio Dynamite: Medicine Show. OK, so this is the 7", and it's the 12" mix that you want really. I have that on the debut LP, but that whole record, barring "E=MC2" doesn't match the glorious heights here. I love The Clash, but I'd swap their whole catalog for "Medicine Show". You can hear The Happy Mondays, Trip-Hop (especially J Saul Kane) even, if you listen closely, some Jungle here.


The Incredible String Band: The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter. Music for a New Society. Effortlessly haunting UK Folk Rock.


The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet. An entirely unpretentious study of the possibilities of recording technology. More uneven than "Let It Bleed", "Sticky Fingers" or "Exile on Main Street" but wilder and more fascinating.


Lee "Scratch" Perry: The Wonderman Years. In the face of his larger-than-life personality it's easily forgotten or overlooked that Perry was unquestionably the most original and creative producer that came out of Jamaica. Forget Coxsone Dodd, Duke Reid, Clancy Eccles, Bunny Lee, Augustus Pable, Keith Hudson, Glen Brown, Joseph HooKim, Clive Chin, Phil Pratt, Harry Mudie, Niney, Jack Ruby or Yabby You. Perry is the equivalent of Picasso, Warhol and Dali rolled into one man. His purple patch stretched way back before the signature Black Ark recordings too (quick nod to "Heart of the Congos" in passing). The sheer quantity of staggeringly great singles he put out beggars belief. The lovely people at Trojan and Sanctuary put together this entirely dazzling collection of tracks which I don't tire of recommending to people.


Ladi Luv: Good To The Last Drop/Dub. Entirely awesome Miami Bass hacked from a Dave Tompkins playlist.


Paul McCartney: RAM. Rock would have you forget the nuclear family. "C'mon Cats and Kittens" said Paul in this manifesto of love.


Scritti Politti: Skank Bloc Bologna.  "Fold out paper cover (with cut-up artwork and costs of the recording and pressing included) stapled to a plain white paper sleeve."


Code 6: Third Aura. Beltram's secret masterpiece. The roughness of NY Hip-Hop meets wilting Prog Metal melody. The twin of the early Black Dog singles, but come by honestly.


Seefeel: Time to Find Me (afx fast mix).  Richard's fast mix sends Seefeel into the stratosphere.


The Replacements: Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash. Peaking early with this set before barfing down the alleyway.


Bruza: Get me. Cocky cockney from the east. I met Bruza twice - once at a Stratford Grime Expo and once at Rinse FM. Good times. Here he takes D Double's concept of the sonic mnemonic to it's logical conclusion. Get me?


R Stevie Moore: Delicate Tension. Chock full of classic Moore standards.


Joao Gilberto: Joao Gilberto. Robotic balladry. Produced by Wendy Carlos.


Groundhogs: Thank Christ For The Bomb. Blues Rock. As great a guitar record as "Marquee Moon" or "Crazy Horse".


Pere Ubu: Dub Housing. Cold wind blows through holes made in "The Modern Dance".


Dinosaur Jr: You're Living All Over Me. Axe hero in overbearing social situation.


Micachu and The Shapes: Golden Phone. Venusian pop perfection.


Don Cherry: Brown Rice. For "Malkauns" as well as the live evil of the title track. 


Ananda Shankar: Ananda Shankar and his music. Heavyweight Indian Rock Fusion too often dismissed as kitsch.


Van Morrison: Astral Weeks. "I had a feeling when I was writing it that I was plugging into what Jung called 'The Collective Unconscious'".


Peverelist: Circling. From the Soundboy's Ashes Get Hacked Up And Spat Out In Disgust EP. Not really Dubstep - in the most seductive way.


GAS: Königsforst. Their serotonin depleted, rave's armies marched into the fog.


Tom Verlaine: Flash Light. Taut, angular and defiantly pretentious. Miller's mojo intact.


15.60.75. Jimmy Bell's Still In Town. Art Pub Rock.


BBC Radiophonic Music. Painstakingly assembled electro-ditties.


Sly and the Family Stone: There's A Riot Going On. Thee philosophic Funk opus. Good enough to turn Miles Davis's head.


DJ Screw: 3'N The Mornin'. Hip-Hop's Underground Clown Prince.


Willis Alan Ramsey: Willis Alan Ramsey. Perfect, melancholic Country. One for the Arthur Russell fans.


François Bayle: Erosphère. Musique concrète masterpiece come progressive concept LP chasing Pink Floyd's money.


Ustad Ali Akbar Khan: Raga Ahir Bhairav. The Hindustani Blues.


Big Star: #1 Record. At their most pretty and polished.


Ann Peebles: Straight From The Heart. Tough, short Soul set driven by Howard Grimes characteristic drums. A nice counterpoint to Al Green's five stellar Hi LPs.


The Black Dog: Parallel. Rounds up the Parallel and Vanttool EPs - two of TBD's finest. A puppy-pen of breaks and bleeps.


Equinox/The Beginning/Nite&Da - A Retroactive Compilation. Peerless collection of dreamy, spliffed-out Techno from Detroit on Carl Craig's legendary label.


Elliot Smith: Roman Candle. Grunge on acoustic guitars. Evidently Smith's greatest.


Bernard Parmegiani: Dedans dehors. More fun than "De Natura Sonorum". 


Chuck Brooks: Love's Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down. Dub Soul from Memphis.


Talking Heads: 77. Succinct in its illogic. For all the subsequent bells and whistles of "More Songs", "Fear of Music" and "Remain in Light" this remains their greatest record.


Tom Zé: Se O Caso É Chorar. Setting off on his strange, Braziliant journey - but not yet weird for its own sake. Dazzling tunes.


Thin White Rope: Moonhead. Stunning, mighty eighties Psychedelic Desert Rock. A truly mind-blowing live act.


Blue Orchids: The Greatest Hit. Mancunian Post-Punk shambling from the detritus of an early The Fall edition. Fakir, acid-head meditations on the true values of life.


D.J. Jimi : Where They At. New Orleans greatest Rap track. Shades of gris-gris with the misty samples.


Iggy and The Stooges. Iggy, an unfortunate omission of the first 100. Less focused than side one of "Fun House" but more consistent and ridiculously enervating.


Ramsey Lewis: Maiden Voyage. Charles Stepney wizardry.


Tornadoes: Do Your Thing. Wildly eccentric Reggae. The a-side a slick Soul Version; the b-side though, with its Pinky and Perky voices is where it's at, a r[a]verie.


The Residents: Duck Stab EP. Their signature work and that's no sinister exaggeration.


The Black Dog: Spanners. A unique, unprecedented but also abandoned audio-concept of lyrical electronic beats.


Sharon Redd: Can You Handle It (Special Remixed Version). Francois K's mix here produces something as compulsive as CAN at their finest.


J Dilla: Donuts. That giant Donut statue a monument to the art-form of sampling.


Delia Derbyshire & Anthony Newley: Moogies Bloogies. Newley. Derbshire. Trunk. House.


Holger Hiller: Ein Bündel Fäulnis In Der Grube. NDW at its most fascinating and prepossessing.


The Kinks: Are The Village Green Preservation Society. The Deluxe CD is what you want as it picks off most of the entirely fantastic Kinks rarities of this era. Ray Davis on fire. This might even nudge its way to my #1.


Dillinja: Digital Cloning EP. Dillinja's first. For "Untitled" a masterpiece of UK Ardkore. Hear this at 2:37:05 of my London's Dreaming mix. Shutdown!


Ariel Pink: Mature Themes. Love you Ariel.


Isolee: Beau Mot Plage (Heaven and Earth Edit). Succeeds where 99% of electronic music fails in its glorious free-flowing, preternatural elasticity.


The Roots: Things Fall Apart. Breaks all the rules of Hip-Hop yet, if you understand, remains an apposite example of it.


Foul Play: Volume Two. Epic UK Hardcore EP. Every track stellar.


Harry Mudie meet King Tubbys: In Dub Conference Volume One. Mudie, the jazzbo and beatnik, serves Osbourne Ruddock curious orchestral and distinctly jazzy tracks. "Dub those if you will your majesty!"


Wire: Chairs Missing. Mystic punk.


Ron Trent: Altered States. Chicago Post-Acid. Started when Trent was 13. Released four years later in 1990.


Roxy Music: For Your Pleasure. Faultless beauty.


John Hartford: Aereo-Plain. Along with the Willis Alan Ramsey that rare Country music which won't play the municipal Nashville game.


U Sue: 10%. For its hallucinatory Ragga Dub b-side.


Roy Wood: Boulders. Love you Roy. This should come with a warning as it is an acquired taste. Separates the normies from the snowflakes.


Augustus Pablo: Original Rockers. A more consistent Dub set than the celebrated "Meets Rockers Uptown".


Loop: Heavens End. At the time Loop's mantra-onic nouveau psychedelia felt distinctly derivative. Sometimes history can be turned on its head.


Class Action. Weekend. For the M&M Mix. One day I must upgrade this and get a Sleeping Bag copy but fond of my scruffy, ancient reissue.


Love: Forever Changes. Colourblind Progressive Garage Rock.


ESG: ESG. Scroggins girls unite the world.


Basic Channel: Lyot Remix. Grates the Vainquer original almost unrecognisably into a cavernous, riddimic maze.


No Smoke: Koro-Koro. Pinnacle of UK Underground House in thrall to Pan-African Fourth World currents.


Groove Chronicles: Stone Cold. Two-step masterpiece with improbable "Reese" bass line.


Robert Wyatt: Rock Bottom. Trance music born of a tragedy. Wyatt puts it coldly: "If anything, being a paraplegic helped me with the music because being in hospital left me free to dream, and to really think through the music."


Charles Long & Stereolab: Music For The Amorphous Body Study Center. Like a few of these this was a Reynolds tip. This and the Nurse With Wound collaboration "Simple Headphone Mind" tip the groop into greatness.


FBD Project: She's So. Ambient Jungle perfection. One for the dancers. Consciousness floating above clockwork limbs. Always loved the way the bass topples into the cascade - and the break (!!!) - so damn tuff!


Holger Czukay: On The Way To The Peak Of Normal. Holger at his inscrutable finest.


Mott The Hoople: MOTT. Glam romp.


Stush: Dollar Sign. Brilliant and endlessly inventive track from Stush and Sticky. Ignoring some of the well-known reggae pastiches it's funny to think that the JA impact on UK music probably ground to a halt with early Grime tracks like this and Harry Toddler's "Donkey Kick". Urban music is all about Africa nowadays!


Karlheinz Stockhausen: Telemusik. Karlheinz's most explicit pan-global intervention. Still sounds impossibly austere.


Metronomy: The English Riviera. In due course Joseph Mount will repeat this success. Have to give a quick nod in passing to its sister LP Chairlift's "Something".


Rich Gang: Tha Tour Part 1. We're at the end of formats. Maybe the singles "Stoner" or "Constantly Hating" might be more like my Young Thug favorites (and he HAS to be in here) - but they exist only as videos or streamable data. Although the silky, depressive "Tha Tour Part1" can be freely downloaded, you can also still buy the CD. Whisper it, Tricky...


Ralph Tresvant: Sensitivity. Former New Edition singer on gaussian Jam and Lewis production. Yeah, probably the most controversial entry here! On many levels innit. You reckon I should switch it out for Sergeant Peppers? In actual fact it was another Jam and Lewis production Janet Jackson's "All For You" that it was vying with, lol.


Lee "Scratch" Perry & Dub Syndicate: Time Boom X De Devil Dead. Received wisdom is that everything after and including "Pipecock Jackson" that Lee Perry did is crap. But before he was a record producer he was a famous dancer (true!) and after he was a producer, well he was an MC. Certainly I never really dug Perry's tuneless bark on supposedly peak-period artifacts like "Roast Fish and Cornbread" but the Perry of 1987's "Time Boom" comes with a sweetly softer voice; and here's the rub, genius schizo rapping: toasting his own celebrity, making sly calls for legalisation and frequently attacking (it seemed weird at the time..) the corruption of international banking. If you are in any doubt turn out the lights and check the spine-tingling "Music and Science and Lovers", Dub Syndicate effortlessly straddling reggae and rap with Adrian Sherwood putting in some of his finest work.


P.I.L. Metal Box. Like, doh!


World Domination Enterprises: Let's Play Domination. Skull-crushing riddims. Someone forgot to tell World Dom they were the puny and irrelevant pawns of global capital. Walk tall, people!


Brian Eno: Here Come The Warm Jets. Brian's feverish pre-punk Post-Punk apparition.


Gentle Giant: Three Friends. Gentle, rhythmic, left-footed UK Prog. Had to go back and double-check this one (in fact I double-checked many of these) and it is as brilliant as I remembered.


Syd Barrett: The Madcap Laughs. Love you, Rog.


Haim: Days Are Gone. However which way you slice this it's a future classic.

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So that's it! Will I ever do another of these 100 lists? Categorically, no. Apart from anything else these two lists, as I've conceived them around formats, are getting close to being an anachronism. So although another list twelve years from now (in 2029!) might be full of great old music you had never heard, there would be precious little in the way of modern musical objects I'd be able to include.

Fuck you too.