This album, being a three part essay celebrating 10 years of the warp label. Focusing squarely on the period in dance music, around the mid to late 80's. It mines the area of forward thinking producers that were experimenting with the limits of Acid-House & Techno. Compiling classics from that era that influenced the label ("Warp"), and it's own list of artists. Balancing the work between the prominent Chicago, Detroit & British artists, this gives a comprehensive guide to the fledging early Techno & house genre.
For anyone that was there the first time around, to hear these tracks....(and to be fair, this compilation is aimed squarely at you). There is an abundance of tracks that probably haven't been heard in 10 years or so. and going back and listening to all of these tracks with such a long gap, feels surprisingly memorable & deservedly nostalgic, and more surprising, with virtually every track sound as hypnotic and euphoric as you remember them. What also surprises is the very "Afro-Centric" rhythmic dance/Techno fusion sound, that seemingly inhabits a lot of the tracks here. Possibly setting the template for years later for artists such as "Ashley Beedle", and his seminal 1997 "Black Jazz Chronicles" albums, and it seems very likely that he took some of the early forms of tribal-disco rhythms exhibited here, and fleshed them out with more contemporary production, in comparison to some of the simplistic grooves here.
For example "Unique Three's - The Theme [Original Chill Mix]" is a track that is so simplistically produced, that it's infectiousness is made all the more surprising, by being one of those tracks that impresses by having an incredibly keen ear for a musical hook, and building a track around it. short low-budget keyboard chords and the clatter of sampled kick drums dominate here, with the influential compositions still sounding, if not innovative or new, still remarkably listenable after all these years. And it'll take a truly hardened individual to not have a nostalgic tear in their eye, which recalls the heady days of Acid-House raves, and harking back to a day, when Clubbing was a largely free-spirited affair.
"A Guy Called Gerald" should need no introdcution here, as his seminal "Voodoo Ray" , is likely to be the most instantly recognisable track here. And most likely the track people generally single out first, in regards to his work. Even some 12 years on it still as remarkable as it has always been, with the Echoed Drums and all superb female chanting, with the legendary "Voodoo Ray" sample sparadically shouted. It's a truly glorious moment, for a tremendous double Cd loaded with Classic Club/Dance tracks, but this track (for me) encapsulates the whole 80-90's rave/house scene. hedonistic, exuberant & vibrant, I'd don't usually like to single out particular tracks on albums (I prefer to focus on the album as a whole), but this would have to undoubtedly be the highlight for me.
"Plez" bring the acid house of "Can't Stop [Acid Rain Forest Mix]", a vaguely upbeat, tight & shouty house track, with a strong electronic feel. Like a lot of the tracks here, this was fantastically ahead of its time, and influenced many producers with its mix of early Electronica & Acid-House. And it's still a truly remarkable track now, and shows how some records truly do stand the test of time, whilst others evoke feelings of embarrassment.
If your looking for a important document into the history of Warp Records (which will appeal to some, as 'Warp Records' tends to be a collector driven label), or if indeed (like me) you were listening to these records the first time around on there release, this album is a essential purchase. Sure, there will be some that would agree that things have moved on since them, and they'd be right. Going back and hearing the production of these late 80's tracks sound 'Tinny', and a little rough around the edges in comparsion to the overly-produced tracks that we're used to hearing now.
But what it's important not to forget, is that this isn't really targeted for that weren't familiar with this first time around. As most will realise that back then....'Pro-Tools' and easily available music/software tools, weren't just an internet download away. And beneath the lack of audio fidelity, is a collection of imaginative producers making tracks that would go on to largely influence & shape the Detroit/Chicago scene some several years later. this is substantial on two levels. Firstly it's a tremendously well complied document of the early Techno/Acid/House scene on both sides of the Alantic. And secondly containing some of the most timeless (and hard to find) singles in dance music's relatively short history.