After an arduous few years of waiting, Mute finally reissue Sextet, A Certain Ratio’s first album without the guiding (read: forceful) hand of producer Martin Hannett, and first (and only) album as a six-piece (hence the title) after the addition of Martha Tilson on vocals. I’m guessing that in 1982 the news of a female vocalist joining the ranks of a band as ragtag and unpredictable as ACR probably signaled to fans that the crew were going soft, but trust, Tilson’s presence on Sextet is far from a cherry on top - her voice is oftentimes just as eerie and out of place as any other piece of an ACR song. It’s almost as if the band were quite literally adding and subtracting until they hit upon a very certain ratio of punk and funk on those first few records, and Sextet is probably the most straight-up *funk*-leaning record the band ever made. They’d been spending their time soaking up the vibes of New York’s club scene, re-tooling their sound in preparation for the the hotly-anticipated opening of The Haçienda (just four months after the release of Sextet, actually). The grooves are tight, the arrangements sparse and the basslines are deadlier than ever before, with still enough art rock swirl and dub atmosphere to satisfy the neck-up post-punk purists. Check out woozy disco single “Knife Slits Water,” the suffocated jazz-funk of “Gum,” avant dub chant “Rub Down,” or for more straightforward fare, head for the extended disco dub madness of “Day One,” Bataan-grade Harlem salsa of “Skipscada” or midtempo haunted house of funk “Rialto.” Transparent orange vinyl pressing housed in textured jacket with printed insert, recommended.