Our favourite compilations and reissues of 2023

By in Features





Genre excavations and rediscovery. 

Some compilations and reissues offer an opportunity to explore the forgotten and the overlooked. Others are a chance to re-examine and re-appraise the essentials we all know and love.

As vinyl sales continue to increase year-on-year, reissues and compilations this year reflected a sense of curiosity and learning–whether it’s the niches observed in Charles M Bogert’s Sound of North American Frogs or The NID Tapes or the continued excavation of shoegaze with reissues of Duster and Lush. Elsewhere, we had the chance to dive into specialist genres including dungeon synth and Japanese reggae.

Read on for our favourite compilations and reissues this year.

Words by Kelly Doherty, Becky Rogers, Annabelle Van Dort, James Hammond and Emily Hill.

Our favourite EPs of 2023 are here.

Arthur Russell

Picture of Bunny Rabbit

(Rough Trade)


Picture of Bunny Rabbit was recorded at the same time as the late Arthur Russell’s incredible World Of Echo in 1985-86, marking some of his last session work. A stunning posthumous collection, Picture of Bunny Rabbit compiles material from across his tape archive and from two unique test pressings, giving a much-needed return to Russell’s boundless experimentation and outright genius. Each track is doused in gorgeous minimalism, as soft cello bows expertly layer with his otherworldly vocals and gentle guitar strums, making each listen an insight into Russell’s inner musical workings.—Becky Rogers

Charles M. Bogert

Sound of North American Frogs

(Smithsonian Folkways)


This time capsule reissue takes us back to 1958 and Charles M. Bogert’s field recording survey of 57 species of North American frogs and toads. A classic of natural sound recording, Bogert’s narration introduces the likes of the pig frog, Fowler’s toad, and the southern leopard frog, with his interjections framing the unique nature of each voice before letting choruses of frogs and toads play out in various locations across North America. While many of the subjects of this record are diminutive in size, their sounds are anything. As a showcase for biodiversity, heard in the present it’s a stark reminder of the beauty of these sounds and of what’s already been lost.–James Hammond

De La Soul

3 Feet High & Rising



De La Soul rewrote the hip-hop rulebook with 3 Feet High and Rising. 34 years on and it still has the same impact as it did on release with the trio building on samples across pop, country, soul and disco. It’s fun and playful, and at times weird, but 3 Feet High and Rising reimagines what was possible with sampling and within hip-hop as a whole.–BR


Stratosphere (25th Anniversary Edition)

(Numero Group)


Revisit the slowcore classic with Numero Group’s 25th-anniversary reissue of Duster’s Stratosphere. And how did they celebrate? By sending it to space of course! When Stratosphere was released back in 1998, it was lost to the record collections of a lucky few, but went on to influence some of the slacker-pop greats like Alex G. Now on its silver anniversary, it has grown to cult stature. From virality on TikTok to bolstering the collections of noise-rock fanatics, Stratosphere is receiving the credit it always deserved.–BR

Hiroshi Yoshimura


(Temporal Drift)


Initially designed to soundtrack prefabricated homes in ‘80s Japan, Hiroshi Yoshimura’s Surround was always intended as background music. With its creator seeking a music that was “close to air itself”, these tracks are the product of a wider listening ethos that looked to merge soft and buoyant sounds with the incidental sound of the listener’s environment. At this point in 1985, Yoshimura had already designed sounds for the ambience of museum spaces and subways, and when turning his subtle yet all-encompassing compositional lens to the home, he crafted a true classic of ambient music.—JH

Jai Paul

Leak 04-13 (Bait Ones)



Jai Paul’s return is nothing but joyous for fans around the world who have patiently waited for the revival of the illusive yet iconic singer whose leaked Bait Ones captured the imagination of a generation of listeners. Bait Ones finally, after ten years, received a long-awaited physical issue this year alongside a packed global tour which saw the singer return, or rather arrive, on our stages and screens with a performance at Coachella. The music here speaks to so many and it’s the IDEAL Christmas present for any hardcore fans who have been waiting patiently for this tangible iteration—Emily Hill

Julius Eastman


(Frozen Reeds)


Released digitally by Frozen Reeds in 2016, this live recording of Julius Eastman’s Femenine has played an integral role in the rediscovery of the composer’s ground-breaking works. Finally given a vinyl edition this year, Femenine has become a post-humous classic of the avant-garde, shining a light on Eastman’s radical brilliance and the systemic neglect his work faced during his lifetime. Never given a studio recording, this 1974 live performance of Femenine in Albany, New York, is the principal source material for the work, and one that has ultimately spurred on varying ensemble reproductions in recent years. On this recording we have Eastman on piano and the S.E.M ensemble working up vibrant repetitions and subtle variations on vibraphone, cello and flute, alongside the insistence of mechanised sleigh bells. A work of perpetual motion and inherent beauty, if the name Julius Eastman is still unfamiliar this is a fine way to delve into his works.—JH

La Monte Young / Marian Zazeela

31 VII 69 10:26 – 10:49 PM / 23 VIII 64 2:50:45 – 3:11 AM The Volga Delta

(Superior Viaduct)


Nicknamed The Black Record, this LP from La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela was originally released in 1969 at the start of their long-standing partnership of long-duration sounds. One side here sets the duo’s voices alongside a sinewave drone and the other puts a gong to suitably abstract use- from there the experience is down to the listener and a suitably loud enough volume to let the sounds’ presence come through. With the original being a collector’s only affair, this official reissue from Superior Viaduct brought back a staple of the minimalist canon.–JH

Larry Heard


(Alleviated Records)


This year saw a much-needed repress of House hero Larry Heard’s 1996 intergalactic odyssey, Alien— reissued on his own Alleviated Records imprint. Inspired by Ridley Scott’s sci-fi blockbuster of the same name, Heard embraces the expansive unknown of deep space, launching the cosmic house sounds pioneered under his Mr Fingers alias to unexpected galactic heights. An outlier in Heard’s discography, Alien is a beguiling concoction of ambient, downtempo sonics; filled with ten-minute-long musical voyages that retain the recognisable 4/4 pulse of house, but with a jazzier, more experimental orientation. A post-club and chill-out room cult classic, Alien remains a fascinating insight into one of electronic music’s authentic originals.–Annabelle Van Dort


Spooky / Split / Lovelife



4AD treated all Lush fans with the triple reissue and remaster of Lush’s studio output with Spooky, Split and Lovelife. With a new lease of life, the dreamy shoegaze pop of best friends and expert songwriters Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson returns to vinyl for the first time since the ’90s. Spooky’s introductory reverb haze, Split’s dark dream-pop and Lovelife’s full embrace of Britpop with a guest spot from Jarvis Cocker–this album trio marks a poignant moment in British shoegaze. Long live Lush.—BR

Mort Garson

Journey to the Moon and Beyond

(Sacred Bones Records)


Mort Garson is an electronic pioneer and this deep dive into the late Moog master’s vault is essential. Centred around his work for CBS’ live broadcast of the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing, Journey to the Moon and Beyond goes on to document Garson’s forays into advertisements, nature documentaries and soundtrack rarities. The true variation of his output is on display, with his “Western Dragon” trilogy exploring psych-funk breakdowns, while “Love Is A Garden” waltzes into his plant-loving Plantasia era. A time capsule of synth goodness.– BR

Pharoah Sanders


(Luaka Bop)


Recorded against a backdrop of production conflicts and misunderstandings, Pharoah ultimately found Pharoah Sanders and a makeshift band locking into slow-burn grooves and striking on a one-off chemistry that would turn this unassuming session into one of Sander’s greatest works. The smoky atmospherics of “Harvest Time” are what this one’s all about, as Sander’s sax pushes towards the limits of the instrument’s low end while phased guitar hits on staccato runs and simple two-chord exchanges stretch out into heady swirls of sensuous sound. As a first-time reissue of this understated classic, this edition was bolstered by live renditions of “Harvest Time” and a package that cast further light on the session’s impromptu origins.– JH


Our Likeness



A long overdue vinyl reissue of Aunt Sally vocalist Phew’s third album, Our Likeness is a grooving, challenging, force of energy. A spiritual precursor to the spiky, brash dance-punk of the early ’00s while channelling a crushing metal adjacent atmosphere, Our Likeness is confrontational, intense music at its finest. Well worth a revisit.–Kelly Doherty

The Black Dog




This year Warp gifted listeners with not one, but two reissues from Sheffield IDM legends The Black Dog, their 1993 debut Bytes (more of a compilation of individual productions from the original members of the group), and the sensational 1995 effort, Spanners, our choice for this list. A deliciously left-field slice of ’90s electronica, Spanners is delightfully wonky and weird, bringing a sense of playful hybridity to all elements of their musical experiments. Taking cues from Detroit techno as much as piano-centric salsa and Arabic scales, Spanners executes bold risks without sacrificing danceability, injecting a dose of psychedelia into every dancefloor.–AVD

Tullio de Piscopo

Suonando la Batteria Moderna

(Dialogo Italy)


With their reissue of prolific Naples-born drummer and percussionist Tullio de Piscopo’s 1974 debut, Dialogo Italy answered the calls of breakbeat-hungry DJs, producers and, of course, b-boys and b-girls everywhere. It’s easy to see why Suonando la Batteria Moderna has attained such holy-grail status in the record-digging world; featuring just solo drums, the record captures de Piscopo’s raw, virtuosic technical prowess across numerous global styles. From Samba and Afro-Cuban styles to grittier rock rhythms, de Piscopo provides the perfect rhythm for all drum library needs.–AVD

Various Artists

If There’s Hell Bellow

(Numero Group)


With such a prolific output and an extensive back catalogue cultivated over the last twenty years, it’s remarkable that Chicago’s Numero Group are still unearthing such divine forgotten gems. If There’s Hell Below is a stoned-out journey across the psychedelic intersections between blues, rock and soul, picking up from where ‘funk archaeologist’ Dante Carfagna’s legendary Black rock mixtape, Chains and Black Exhaust, left off. Blizzards of distorted guitars surge through the acid-fried haze like an electric current; explosive breakbeats channel the irresistible dynamism of a James Brown-style break. A riot from start to finish, If There’s Hell Below shows that the Black rock movement did not begin and end with Hendrix, with a wealth of innovators still to be rediscovered. –AVD

Various Artists

The NID Tapes: Electronic Music from India 1969​-​1972

(The state51 Conspiracy)


Plenty of vinyl releases exist for pure listening pleasure, others are a marker of a place and time–a tool of acknowledgement. The state51 Conspiracy’s The NID Tapes: Electronic Music from India 1969-1972 is the latter, paying tribute to the explorative work done by students and composers at India’s National Institute Of Design. Where the tracks lack the structures and commercial appeal of much of contemporary electronic music, The NID Tapes offers a thrilling insight into early experimentation and the possibilities that existed within new synthesizer technology. A rare document concerned with process and discovery.–KD

Various Artists

Time Capsule Presents: Tokyo Riddim

(Time Capsule)


Time Capsule is an imprint operating in London focused on reissuing one-of-a-kind sonic experiences across time and space. This particular volume sees a deep dive into the little known world of Japanese Reggae pop from the 1970s and ’80s. Outlining that the narrative is not a linear one, it explores the cultural phenomena–one which persists to the current day, as city pop fuses with reggae to create a new wave reggae sound.–EH

Various Artists

NTS presents Ascend



NTS has done it again. The beloved radio station continues its streak of excellent compilations, this time around they explore the origins of micro-genre dungeon synth. Filled with artists pairing electronic experimentation and the foreboding aural aesthetics of black metal, ASCEND is an intimate, haunting collection that shows what’s possible when disparate sounds collide.—KD


Into The Heart Of Love

(Palto Flats)


Since the mid-1970s, brothers Mark and Clive Ives have crafted a singular sound: a combination of earthy folk, rippling ambient electronics and whimsical hints of exotica. Call it the musical equivalent of a much-needed hug or a cuppa with a friend, as beautifully captured on the gentle ode to everyday acts of love, “Make Me Tea”. Recorded in South London in the 1980s when the brothers were part of the New Age Music Association, Into the Heart of Love is meditative and soothing, enveloping the listener in a welcoming warmth, and guiding them toward a space for healing. Originally available on a limited fifty cassette run, the good people at Palto Flats continue a stellar run of releases with this wonderful reissue.—AVD

Read more: Our favourite EPs of 2023