But this is not a mix about DJ trickery. There are naturally some grooves in there (A Tribe Called Quest, DJ Food and Holy Ghost! all make appearances along the way), but really this is about song appreciation. The songs are groovy, natch, but it’s the feeling that’s important here whether we’re falling in love with Jim Noir’s daffy lyrics or wondering from which planet Arthur Russell may have landed. And, as this is Late Night Tales, they always but always have something special for you in the comely form of a newly recorded cover version, this time their own homage to Antipodean heroes INXS with ‘New Sensation’. As Gary himself queries of their remake: “Why bother if you’re just palely imitating the true form?” Following his spoken word appearance on Groove Armada’s last Late Night Tales outing, Will Self returns with the second part of his story ‘The Happy Detective’. Adding to the literary bonuses, Gary Lightbody recalls the first time he and Tom Simpson met – via Marlena Shaw – in a short story within the CD booklet.

1. “Observatory Crest” Captain Beefheart
2. “Midnight” A Tribe Called Quest
3. “Dark Lady” DJ Food
4. “I Walk the Earth” King Biscuit Time
5. “Canal Song” Iain Archer
6. “Ordinary Joe” Terry Callier
7. “It’s All Gone Quiet” The Week That Was and Field Music
8. “Last Train” Allen Toussaint
9. “Fancy” Bobby Gentry
10. “That’s Us/Wild Combination” Arthur Russell
11. “Eanie Meany” Jim Noir
12. “Half Asleep” School of Seven Bells
13. “Family Tree” TV on the Radio
14. “Hold On” Holy Ghost!
15. “Download” Super Furry Animals
16. “New Sensation” (INXS cover) Snow Patrol
17. “Next Train” Miracle Fortress
18. “Sweet Little Mystery” John Martyn
19. “The Happy Detective (Part 2)” Will Self

For the album, Strut also commissioned a fresh batch of versions, many transforming seminal ZE tracks which have previously been tricky to play in clubs. Richard Sen sews together brilliantly the two parts of James White’s fidgety ‘Almost Black, Italian DJ team The Barking Dogs create a tracky beast from Arto Lindsay’s beatless ZE experiment ‘Pini Pini and Luke Howard and Felix Dickinson from Horse Meat Disco create the best club version yet of Aural Exciters’ ‘Spooks In Space. For the ‘heads’, there are ultra-rare tracks too – Fat Camp resurrect a David Gamson track ‘No Turn On Red’, previously only available on an NME cover mount cassette. ZEVOLUTION features cover artwork based on the original ZE Records 12“ house bag design. Package contains an extensive booklet including an introduction by re-edit king Greg Wilson and sleeve notes by Bill Brewster of DJ History.

1. Kid Creole & The Coconuts – I’m Corrupt (Idjut Boys Edit)
2. Gichy Dan’s Beachwood No. 9 – Cowboys & Gangsters (Social Disco Club Edit)
3. Gichy Dan’s Beachwood No. 9 – On A Day Like Today (Todd Terje ‘Friendly Children’ Edit)
4. David Gamson – No Turn On Red (Fat Camp version)
5. Material with Nona Hendryx – Bustin’ Out (Rub & Tug Edit)
6. Aural Exciters – Spooks In Space (Luke Howard & Felix Dickinson Edit)
7. James White & The Blacks – Contort Yourself (Twitch-Optimo mix)
8. Was (Not Was) – Tell Me That I’m Dreaming (Greg Wilson ZE-Edit)
9. James White & The Blacks – Almost Black (Richard Sen’s Padded Cell Edit)
10. Garcons – Encore L’Amore (Leo Zero Edit)
11. Don Armando’s Seventh Avenue Rhumba Band – I’m An Indian Too (Pilooski mix)
12. Kid Creole & The Coconuts – Annie I’m Not Your Daddy (Soul Mekanik ‘Bounty Girls’ Edit)

Spooks In Space (Luke Howard & Felix Dickinson Filthy & Foolish Edit)

We also include some useful covers of Christmas favourites. Late, lamented New Orleans Godfather Eddie Bo produces Isaac Clarke on a solid version of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” for his Seven B label and The Black On White Affair out of Seattle rock out on an amazing re-work of “Auld Lang Syne.” All in all, an essential diggers’ grab bag for the festive season and a refreshing alternative to the traditional Christmas fare. Early reaction from Lapland is encouraging: “Sinatra and Jim Reeves are certainly legends but the same songs each Christmas are driving me and Rudolph a bit potty, quite frankly,” explains Santa Claus. “This is the sh*t I want in my sleigh!” In The Christmas Groove is released on CD and digital and features an extensive booklet including original sleeve artwork and sleeve notes by James Maycock of Mojo magazine.

1. J.D. McDonald – Boogaloo Santa Claus
2. Jimmy Reed – Christmas Present Blues
3. Electric Jungle – Funky Funky Christmas
4. Funk Machine – Soul Santa
5. Milly & Silly – Getting Down For Xmas
6. The Harlem Children’s Chorus – Black Christmas
8. Isaac Clarke – Santa Claus Is Coming To town
9. Captain Elmo McKenzie & The Roosters – Home On Christmas Day
10. Soul Saints Orchestra – Santa’s Got A Bag of Soul
11. Zebra – Christmas Morning
12. Harvey Averne Band – Let’s Get It Together This Christmas
13. Jimmy Jules – The New Year
14. The Black On White Affair – Auld Lang Syne

Mulatu is a true pioneer of African music. He was the first Ethiopian musician of his generation to travel extensively and to record abroad – he studied in the UK in Wales and at Trinity College Of Music in London, cutting his teeth on the buoyant London jazz scene of the early ‘60s. He became the first African student to attend Harvard and he lived and recorded in New York, developing a unique sound that fused Western jazz with traditional Ethiopian melodies. As Mulatu says, “it took a long time to get the balance, to let the colours and the feelings of the Ethiopian modes shine through.” Returning to “Swinging Addis” during the late ’60s, he became a pivotal figure, arranging for many of the country’s top vocalists and developing rich, dense textures in his own music during the final years of Selassie’s reign and the mid-‘70s rule of the Derg Communist military junta.

Tracing the progression of his Ethio jazz experiments with full access to all of the labels for whom he recorded, Mulatu Astatke: New York-Addis-London is the essential Mulatu. Covering his first recordings in the UK during 1965, his groundbreaking fusions for the small Worthy label in New York and his key ‘70s recordings back in Addis on Amha, Phillips and Axum, the album features comprehensive sleeve notes by Miles Cleret, boss of the excellent Soundway Records imprint, and rare, previously unseen photos from Mulatu’s personal archive.

1. ASIYO BELEMA (feat. Frank Holder)
2. MASCARAM SETABA (with Ethiopian Quintet)
3. I FARAM GAMI FARAM (with Ethiopian Quintet)
4. SOUL POWER (with Ethiopian Quintet)
5. GIRL FROM ADDIS ABABA (with Ethiopian Quintet)
6. SHAGU (Mulatu Astatke Quartet)
17. LANCHI BIYE with Tilahoun Gessesse
18. FIKRATCHIN with Menelik Wossenatchew
19. EBO LALA with Seifu Yohannes
20. WUBIT with Muluken Melesse
21. KASALEFKUT HULU with Tilahoun Gessesse