Two years in the making, Close To The Noise Floor is a 4CD, 60-track set exploring the origins of electronica in the UK. Featuring tracks from key figures on the cassette label underground alongside early releases by future stars of the movement, this is part primitive rave, part synthesiser porn and part history lesson.
It's a tall order to compile the best classical music of the twentieth century, but EMI has selected its top 100 classics for this six-disc set, and it's difficult to argue with most of the choices. Without taking sides in the great ideological debates of the modern era – traditionalist vs. avant-garde, tonal vs. atonal, styles vs. schools, and so on – the label has picked the composers whose reputations seem most secure at the turn of the twenty-first century and has chosen representative excerpts of their music. Certainly, the titans of modernism are here, such as Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, Béla Bartók, Dmitry Shostakovich, Sergey Prokofiev, Claude Debussy, and Benjamin Britten, to name just a few masters, but they don't cast such a large shadow that they eclipse either their more backward-looking predecessors or their more experimental successors.
The Wire's latest Tapper CD, free to all readers with The Wire 410 April issue. The Wire Tapper is a series of CD anthologies of new underground music that appear three times a year attached to the cover of all copies of The Wire magazine worldwide. All subscribers to The Wire also get access to download every edition of The Wire Tapper since The Wire Tapper 25.