Ruffy talks: Top five digs of 2015

Yes guys! It’s another bloody Top 5 list for you all. I’m pretty sick of these lists now, but it’s the season for them so I mustn’t really whinge too much. What’s not to love about reducing a year’s worth of creative output from thousands upon thousands of talented people to a neat, bullet-pointed list?

I’m going to go one better than all the other pundits though – my list doesn’t even contain any records that were made this year, because while 2015 was pretty good for music, my top five purchases of this year were all made at least 20 years previously and they all shit on anything put out in the last 12 months… If Resident Advisor’s top tune of the year can be an 11-year-old slept-on electro-house banger then I’m allowed my Ruffy’s Top 5 digs 2015 (and they all shit on Fatima Yamaha too).

Vono –Dinner Für 2 [1982]
Okay, this is the greatest album I’ve bought in ages and I haven’t listened to anything more often this year. A Post-Krautrock / Proto-NDW album from what seems to be a pair of brothers – Volker & Norbert Schultze, this is the sound of experimental Berlin in 1982, long before Berghain and new-age trustafarianism came to the city. Genuinely minimal electronics bounce up against stilted weirdo vocals to create a cold, dark, nihilistic sound that is moodier and funkier than anything coming out of the city these days. I first heard it on a smokey dark dancefloor in Vienna earlier this year and had to own it immediately.

Jorge Reyes & Antonio Zepeda – A La Izquierda Del Colibri [1985]
Mexican native compu-psych madness from 1986… plenty of wind noises and war whoops swirling around aztec pyramids built out of drum machines and DX7s. I played at the infamous ‘Salon Des Amateurs’ in January and that’s where I first encountered this record – Tolouse Lowtrax (Salon resident and sonic godfather) pulled this out and as soon as I saw the cover I was on high alert – once he played the title track and I got lost in the animal noises and laser-tight handclaps, I was pretty much straight onto Mexican eBay to get myself one.

52nd Street – Look Into My Eyes [1982]
If you come from Manchester and don’t know about this record, then shame upon you, forever. 1982, Factory Records, recorded in Stockport, got New fucking Order on synth duties (under their Be Music pseudonym), got a triple sick break, more hooks than a hardware shop and it’s a disco/boogie track that is one of the best examples of the form. It also comes with the wonderful B-Side ‘Express’ – a super crunchy power-boogie banger with some great Manc accents involved. Next time some chump is telling you how much they love disco and starts banging on about NYC in 83, be sure to tell them that we kicked it here too. This has spent a while on my wantlist – it’s not cheap – so the day I found it languishing in a 50p bin in Stoke On Trent was a very good day.

Sky Joose – Sky Joose E.P. [1994]
If you’re a bandwagon jumper, who likes to think they are a bit ahead of the game, you will already be enjoying the breakbeat rave revival. This does of course, mean that it’s only a matter of time before we are fully back in 1994, as there’s only so many bleeps a person can handle before the tempo switches and we’re in the land of ripped up amens and detuned 808 kickdrums. Unfortunately, I fear the oncoming Jungle Onslaught will quickly progress to shit ravey basslines everywhere and gems like this 4-tracker on Slam Records will remain hidden, which is a shame, as the Sky Joose guys really had a nice angle on taking syrupy soul samples and flipping them super roughly. I first found this on YouTube after a heavy night on the hash pipe and it went in my wantlist straight away – it was a 50 quidder but then Hard To Find Records uncovered a box of them and started selling them for a tenner! They realised their mistake eventually but the market has been hit enough to keep the price low – buy a copy and when all your dickhead cool pals are telling you how they’ve been into jungle since December 2015, you can say the same but then slay them with this heavy, heavy record.

Tatsuro Yamashita – Spacy [1977]
Okay, so if you like to think you are cool you are these days all about breakbeat and maybe a bit of jungle but if you like to think you are FUCKIN’ SUPER COOL then you are all about obscure Japanese funk/soul/pop from 1976-1989, preferably featuring somebody who was in Yellow Magic Orchestra. There is something a little embarrassing about watching kids crying to ‘Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence’, thinking that they’ve found something ultra elite when anyone of a certain age remembers it from those moods tapes they used to advertise on telly. Shouldn’t really take the piss though, because this music genuinely is extra special – it deserves all the superlatives being flung at it by the haircuts. ‘Spacy’ is my favourite Japanese LP and this year I finally took the plunge and bought myself a vinyl copy… the cuts I love are the cosmic funk of ‘Dancer’ and the ultra deadly ‘Solid Slider’, which my Japanese-speaking pal Ryan tells me is all about someone hiding in the bushes with a knife ready to kill someone they’ve been following. Stalker Soul, anybody?

– Ruffy


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