Published Dec 17, 2014
5. Z (aka Bernard Szajner)
Visions of Dune
Riding the wave of acclaim left by documentary Jodorowsky's Dune, the reissue of Visions of Dune by French music visionary Z (aka Bernard Szajner) couldn't have been better timed. Serving as an homage to Frank Herbert's classic science fiction novel, the synth-fuelled album once again gave us visions of sand-surfing worms, murderous space aristocrats and, of course, that ever-precious spice.
But having a love for Dune hardly mattered when it came to appreciating this fictional score, which wrapped you up in cascading arpeggios, claustrophobic drone exercises and mind-expanding future sounds. Bernard Szajner has often been called France's Brian Eno, and it's easy to see why from Visions of Dune, an album that's gorgeous, challenging and altogether fascinating all these decades later. (Brock Thiessen)
4. Various Artists
Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966-1985
(Light in the Attic)
If you needed any more proof that we're in the midst of an indigenous music renaissance, look no further than Light in the Attic's Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966-1985. Assembled by Vancouver music historian Kevin "Sipreano" Howes, the 34-track, 23-artist comp effectively shed a much-needed light on Canada's sadly hidden musical history, giving us an excellent collection of songs in the process. Whether exploring Arctic garage rock, political folk or psych-tempered rock'n'roll, Native North America offered a hell of a journey, with Howes' insanely in-depth liner notes making the package all that better. But not only was Native North America a wonderfully assembled reissue, it was an important one. (Brock Thiessen)
3. Craig Leon
Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 1
Few reissues past and present (and likely future, too) are quite like Craig Leon's ambitious Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 1. After all, not many re-releases involve the actual artist recreating an entire album note for note, preset by preset — right down to every exact tape delay, patch and synthesizer setting — but that's exactly what Leon did for the reissue of his cult classic 1981 electronic album Nommos, giving a stellar remastering job to its Visitor followup to boot.
While this may have seemed like a risky endeavour, the albums now sound bigger, brighter and better than ever packaged together as Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 1, showing how Leon (often best known as the studio whiz behind breakthrough releases by the likes of Blondie, Suicide and the Ramones) was years ahead of his time. These electronic landmarks were essential before, and now they're even more so. (Brock Thiessen)
(Light In The Attic)
Who is Lewis? Where is Lewis? Why isn't Lewis playing Coachella in 2015? A mysterious Albertan who simply went by the name Lewis recorded an album of sweet, minimal synth-pop ballads that was released via private press in 1983. And no one really knew about it until 30 years later.
The questions about Lewis were fun to ask, but even when some answers were given (he's alive, in hiding, with at least two more albums accounted for and available), they didn't destroy the fact that we still had this jaw-droppingly gorgeous album called L'Amour to obsess over till the end of time. (Cam Lindsay)
Sleater-Kinney had already recorded No Cities To Love when they were putting together the reissues for their seven albums, so it's not as if Start Together instigated the reunion. But with the remastering, the fancy coloured vinyl, the endearing book of career-spanning photographs, and the secret-killing seven-inch of brand new song "Bury Our Friends," S-K came back the way any band gone for nearly a decade should.
Not that we needed reminding of their magnitude, but having the complete set — from the scratchy, pissed off self-titled debut, to the expansive, booming rock of The Woods — made their return that much more sensational to witness. (Cam Lindsay)