Many of you know Gabriel as the funniest guy at Boiler Room. And he was a core member of the institution for the last five years booking the shows and operating the streams. Also, I was surprised to know he’s also a brilliant journalist and writer (working for RBMA, The Economist etc) after reading his Growing Bin feature on RA. So I wrote Gabriel and he kindly selected some good old hardcore, punk, games soundtrack, afro and more in his top-5 😉
Bhundu Boys – The Shed Sessions [Sadza, 2001]
I would heavily recommend anyone reading this to scope out the story of the Bhundu Boys. They shimmied from Zimbabwean independence to making John Peel sob to supporting Madonna at Wembley to tragedy in just a few years. But before combusting they were a streak of glorious colour and expression. This anthology is the go-to.
As my hearing has dipped, I find myself gravitating toward more easily digestible sounds. This is perhaps out of self preservation: I don’t have enough hours in the day where I can listen without pain to tolerate some quixotic experimental passage that takes eight attempts to unravel. But just as importantly, it’s more gratifying to chime with music that wants to be chimed with, you know? Alongside quicksilver guitar lines and rolling rhythmic hills, the core of Bhundu Boys’ appeal is their open heart and infectious, gregarious spirit. It’s gold for the soul.
Various – Illegal Rave III • Keeping The Vibe Alive [Strictly Hardcore, 1994]
For whatever reason, at some point in my teens I briefly attempted to improve my scrawny figure and crossed paths with a hard as fkn nails ex-raver-turned-personal trainer from Yorkshire. He told me to bin my Flip & Fill and get into proper hooners from back in’t day – disregarded his advice on the former, but I did follow through on the latter.
The tracklist positively reeks of amyl nitrate and B.O.: Citadel of Kaos, Mike Slammer, Tek 9, DJ KP – who sat next to KP & Envyi in my iTunes, always giving a welcome dose of sultry r’n’b to counterbalance the relentless ardkore. I started DJing (loosely applied) out the house when I was 15, and something from this comp would usually find its way in, alongside buzzsaw blog bangers and, I dunno, “Thong Song”. Still need to return his CD, come to think of it.
Various – Historical Archives Volume 10 [Members Only, 2008]
The best disco-adjacent edit in existence. An absolute rocket, like Ron Hardy kicking the lid of his gold plated sarcophagus. The aquatic saturation makes it maddeningly brilliant. The problem with this is that I don’t know what to do with my hands when it’s on. One second I want to mimic the swooping organs, diving in and out of focus like a cormorant into water; the next, chase the explosive and unpredictable drums careening across the mix. Not to mention any of Chantal’s vox. One of the loopiest songs I’ve ever heard, in both senses of the word. And only just now, while writing this, have I found out it’s by Jamal Moss (!!). Fuck. The man’s a genius!
Wipers – Is This Real? [Park Avenue, 1979]
For something so simple and to-the-gut, punk is hard to get spot on. Too earnest and it comes off as trite. Too clever and you lose the impact of the hooks. Too quick and there isn’t enough meat on the bone. ‘Is This Real?’ hits the pleasure core for me big time. Despite being a salt of the earth and somewhat unloved Northwest band in their time, they used vintage tube amps to achieve a guitar tone that is trashy, sludgy but also kind of rich. A lot of ‘80s acts fucked about so much with noisy effects that it makes their music a slog (Jesus & Mary Chain, for example, have such shrill feedback it sets off tinnitus immediately – pass). Wipers got it bang on. It rips but it doesn’t corrode. A lot of contemporary acts in the field I dig throw back to this mode – Pissed Jeans, Milk Music, Iceage, etc. It’s the Goldilocks bear of punk for me: tons of tunes, no needless window dressing, paranoid and passionate and poppy all at once… forza centrism!
Golden Sun OST 
As much as Krossfingers is a kredible outlet and this list is meant to be a serious endeavour, it would be remiss to miss this. I have probably spent as many hours listening to these bitesize ditties as any other record, and as far as videogame soundtracks go, it is not a bad one to have imprinted on your young brain. Quite the opposite: despite the limitations of the medium, these compositions are soothing, stirring and super melodic. I think while a lot of 10 year olds were bumping Redman on WWF soundtracks, I was in a cocooned in a tranquil state with my Game Boy Advance, jamming to synthetic panpipes and shit. Let’s be honest: has anything truly changed in the past 17 years? Obviously not. Pass the new Tim Hecker.