Best compilations of all time

Reading The Wire’s excellent new issue on “game-changing compilations, anthologies, a-chronicles and lists” made me think fondly of my favourite compilations, which are:

Order to Dance III (R&S Records)

Artificial Intelligence 1 & 2 (Warp)

Excursions in Ambience 1-4 (Caroline Records/Astralwerks)

Rumble in the Jungle (Soul Jazz Records)

A history of hardcore (Suburban Base/Moving Shadow)

Studio One Roots (Soul Jazz Records)

300% Dynamite (Soul Jazz Records)

Beleza Tropical 1 & 2 (Luaka Bop)

Tropicalia (Soul Jazz Records)

Samba Reggae – Baila Mi Ritmo Vol.8

Delusions of Grandeur (Hardkiss)

Lost For Words: A 17 Track Leaf Label Sampler (Leaf)

Blimey, aren’t Soul Jazz good at these things?!

Interestingly, most of these are retrospectives rather than scene-defining compilations of the moment. They are also largely things I have sought out since MP3s made them all readily available. I haven’t been up to the loft and checked my cassette collection – although I’m sure all my favourite compilations would have been home-made.

Much as I like The Wire’s thinkpieces I would have happily devoured a few more lists of the obscure and wonderful selections of their writers. Just today, I think I have discovered a new favourite in the shape of a City Centre Offices Sampler from 2007… there is an art to a great compilation and weirdly in this cut-and-paste age, compilations are still looked at somewhat snobbishly as a lesser art form. It’s not just DJs that produce great compilations. (DJ mixes don’t seem to fall into The Wire’s reckoning. I guess that could be a whole issue on its own). Anyway, viva la compilacion!


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