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Warn Defever 'I Want You to Live One Hundred Years' (Lo Recordings)

The Detroit maverick and leader of His Name Is Alive graduates on this solo album from a sound which is even starker than Jimmie Rodgers and 1930s field recordings, to mesmeric and almost euphoric melodies reminiscent of Lou Barlow's Folk Implosion. An understated gem. HHHH

Carl Craig's Innerzone Orchestra 'Programmed' (Talkin' Loud)

The techno legend's "real instruments" album offers many pieces of genius in many different styles. What stops it from being an absolute classic is that during the 74 minutes it slips in a few places, culminating in a needless jazz noodle at the end. HHHH

Scritti Politti 'Anomie & Bonhomie' (Virgin)

Yeah yeah, he's been away for ages, but by any measure this is a good album, with Green Gartside's unique voice working well on the wistful numbers and Mos' Def an excellent choice to add some biting hip-hop incursions. HHH

Various Artists 'More Oar - a Tribute to the Skip Spence Album' (Jericho)

It's rare that a tribute album exudes such sincerity as this interpretation of the late Moby Grape man's only solo album, which he made back in 1968. Full of dark, rootsy psychedelia, there are excellent offerings from Beck, Jay Farrar and Greg Dulli, plus lots of mindbending moments from Tom Waits and others. HHH

Various Artists 'Where the Wild Nings Are' (Fierce Panda)

Before British indie bands sign with majors and get a string section hoisted on them, they seem to make fresh, energetic and cutting-edge singles for Fierce Panda. Even Embrace have bite on this set of 20 tracks from 1997, which also includes Idlewild, The High Fidelity and Lo-Fi Allstars. HHH


Dawn of the Replicants 'Science Fiction Freak' (eastwest)

Singles are often seen to be immediately catchy little things. But with these complex and prolific Scots you get a 10-minute feast of music across three tracks that needs to be chewed over a few times before its subtle charms emerge. HHH