Features I by I 25.10.13

FACT’s Christmas Wishlist: the best music gifts of 2013, from box sets to bass modules

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Tired of grubbing around for bargain-bin DVD sets and novelty sock combos?

We’ve decided to pull together some genuinely desirable gifts for the discerning music fan. Over the next five pages, we’ve assembled our pick of the box sets, books, DVDs, production kit and wildcard gifts available in the run-up to December 25.

Whether these are goodies for friends and relatives, or simply a pat on the back for making it through a year of interminable marketing campaigns and endless wardub volleys, the following should see you right this Christmas. Know someone who’s been really, really good this year? Say it with a Bun B colouring book.

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Box Sets

Plenty of box set pickings this year. Herbie Hancock’s 34xCD Columbia package wins the size war, but Mute’s Can retrospective and Island’s John Martyn survey will also test shelf brackets to the limit. Although the Random Access Memories box set is probably the pick when it comes to surface dazzle, it’s offerings from quieter talents – a lovingly crafted tribute to deceased ambient producer Pete Namlook, and a plush set from Fennesz – that might prove the more enduring gifts.

 Daft Punk – Random Access Memories box-set ($275)

– Herbie Hancock – The Complete Columbia Album Collection: 1972-1988 (34-CD box-set) (£160)

– The Jesus & Mary Chain – The Complete Vinyl Collection (11-CD box-set) (price TBC)

– Can – Can Vinyl Box (17-LP box-set) (price TBC)

– The Velvet Underground – White Light/White Heat 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition (3-CD set) (£54.99)

– Third Man Records – The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records 1917-1932 (6-LP box-set) (£392.33)

– Various – Das Welt Is Klang – A Tribute To Pete Namlook (8-CD box set) ($85)

 Fennesz – 17.02.12 (2xLP + 2xCD box set) (£80)

 Scott Walker – The Collection 1967-70 (5xLP box set) (£82)

– John Martyn – The Island Years (2003)  (17xCD box set) (£129.99) 


For a quirkier prezzie, try some of the stranger bits’n’bobs to emerge from merch workshops and web stores this year. Charm your Mum with a personalised ballad from Michael Gira; educate your nephew with a Kool Keith skateboard or a Wu-Tang bike; keep Grandpa happy with Tompkins Square’s Obscure Giants of Electric Guitar playing card set; and if your Nan’s anything like this one, Run The Jewels have got your back.

Run The Jewels weed grinder (£25)

Kool Keith and MF DOOM skateboards (£55)

The Wu-Tang Clan bicycle (£370)

– The Wu-Tang Clan Christmas sweater ($79.99)

Queens of the Stone Age Christmas sweater ($34.99)

The Roots Christmas sweater ($40)

A song written for you by Swans’ Michael Gira (£300)

David Bowie Is exhibition catalogue (£35)

– Obscure Giants of Electric Guitar playing card set ($25.00)

– Bun B’s Rap Coloring and Activity Book (£7.99)

– Dr Dre sticker pack ($7.50)


Forget Morrissey’s Autobiography – it’s been a strong year for music publications across the board. Some are presciently timed: William Irwin’s kooky Sabbath thinkpiece collection coincides with the release of the band’s long-awaited 13, and the new English translation of Pierre Schaeffer’s seminal In Search Of A Concrete Music makes for an interesting accompaniment to the ongoing efforts of the Recollection GRM label. Others, though, are just essential reading, from Dan Hancox’s Dizzee-spective Stand Up Tall through to blogger/hero Woebot’s The Big Book of Woe. And no house should be without at least one copy of Energy Flash, freshly reissued and expanded for 2013.

– Questlove’s Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation (£27.99)

– Dan Hancox’s Stand Up Tall: Dizzee Rascal & The Birth of Grime (£1.99)

– Simon Reynolds’ Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music And Dance Culture (Expanded 2013 Edition) (£20.99)

– 2Chainz’ #MEALTIME (bundled with B.O.A.T.S. 2: #METIME)

Title TK – ROCK$ ($24.99)

William Irwin’s (ed.) Black Sabbath & Philosophy: Mastering Reality (£11.99)

Pierre Schaeffer’s (translated by Christine North & John Dack) In Search Of A Concrete Music (£19.95)

Woebot’s The Big Book Of Woe (£6.41)

Facing The Other Way – the Story of 4AD (£25)

Bob Stanley‘s Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop (£20) 


Predilection for gadgets and gizmos? Some of the below are intended to bolster existing set-ups, like Korg’s Volca Bass and Volca Keys modules or Moog’s Minitaur bass module. Some, such as Doepfer’s Dark Energy II or the lovely MASCHINE Studio, are designed with bigger wallets in mind. And some kit is just clean, dumb fun – step forward the MS20 Mini and the stocking-friendly Korg Monotron.

– Korg MS20 mini (£499.99)

– Moog’s Minifooger pedals (prices vary)

– Doepfer Dark Energy II (prices vary)

– Moog Minitaur (£489)

– Korg Monotron (c.$50)

– Korg Volca Bass and Volca Keys (£119)

– Machineworks CS-X51 MIDI Controller (£119)

– Native Instruments’ Komplete 9 ($299)

– Native Instruments’ MASCHINE Studio (£489)

 iK Multimedia iRig Blueboard (£70)


Lots of DVD options, suitable for everyone from the synth-buff through to the dub warrior. There are a couple of great fly-on-wall accounts: much ink has been spilled about Shane Meadows’ labour of love Made Of Stone, and Everything Everywhere All The Time intimately profiles Iceland’s wonderful Bedroom Community label. Some, however, are ripping yarns as well as fan-pieces: see The Source Family‘s account of Hollywood cult-leader/musician/charlatan Father Yod and his hippie disciples, and I Am The Gorgon‘s appraisal of the amazing life and times of dub scientist Bunny Lee. Simon Fisher Turner’s new score of 1924 silent movie The Epic Of Everest also brings a cineaste’s classic firmly into FACT’s purview – and if that all sounds a bit cerebral, there’s always Gucci Mane/Zaytoven’s Birds Of A Feather flick.

 Everything Everywhere All The Time (€33.99)

– We Are Modeselektor  (€17)

– The Source Family (price TBC)

– Made Of Stone (13.99)

 I Am The Gorgon (price TBC)

  I Dream of Wires: Hardcore Edition ($30)

– The Epic Of Everest (£13.99)

– Birds Of A Feather  ($14.98)

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