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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That's right........Warp Classics, 9 Nov 2002
This review is from: Warp 10+2: Classics 89-92 (Audio CD)
They're all here, Forgemasters, LFO, Sweet Exorcist and of course Coco Steel and Lovebomb. Bleepy and funky, vocal-less tunes of the time, they're great floor fillers, especially the last. Timeless and very listenable, I have several of these tracks on vinyl anyway, so it's nice to have the convenience of CD.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Play the Five Tones, 13 Feb 2013
By 
Mr. A. Pomeroy (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Warp 10+2: Classics 89-92 (Audio CD)
I bought this ages ago but didn't get around to playing it until recently. It was released at the turn of the century in order to celebrate Warp Records' tenth anniversary, and has a bunch of singles from the very early years of the label, mostly 1989-90, with one track from 1993. When I think of Warp I think of Squarepusher, Boards of Canada, Autechre, Aphex Twin and the like, but they came later and they aren't on Classics (instead, they're on We Are Reasonable People, which came out in 1998). Most of the artists on Classics faded into obscurity after releasing a few singles on the label, and so the album often feels like a kind of Warp Records: Alpha Edition. Listened to in one go it gets monotonous, but the highs are higher and more numerous than the lows, which aren't so bad.

I say monotonous. With one exception the tracks are all straightforward four-four electronic beats with no syncopation and no breaks, which is fair enough - Warp started out as a bleepy techno label - but for a movement that looked to the future the rhythms feel very conservative and staid nowadays. Warp's early records had a consistently beepy style which is epitomised by Sweet Exorcist's "Testone", track three. The production sounds very spartan nowadays, but despite a melody based on just two notes it's still an engaging, evolving listen over the course of its seven minutes. The problem is that - even though it's right near the start - it's placed just after two other bleepy techno tracks, and... "I get it already." Okay, to be fair "Track with No Name" has swishy noises instead of bleeps, but you know what I mean. Bet you any money that Sweet Exorcist called it "Testone" because that's the filename they used in Cubase.

There are a few deviations from the style. DJ Mink's "Can U Relate" is basically hip-hop, and it's really good, and unlike anything else on the compilation. Mink seemed to vanish shortly afterwards, which is a shame, because the track sounds a bit more modern than the supposedly futuristic techno surrounding it. Put in the second CD and you get The Step's "Yeah You", which is much closer to the melodic, lush style of Orbital-era Orbital than the rest of Warp's early repertoire. LFO and Richie Hawtin close off the disc with "Loop", which is excellent driving-down-the-motorway music and feels more mainstream than some of the other tracks, which tend towards a kind of cold detachment. It's faster, too. I don't know if people in the late 1980s / early 1990s were slower than people nowadays, or the drugs were different, but most of the tracks on Classics sound a bit slow. Perhaps the DJs played them quicker in the clubs.

Other high spots include LFO's famously speaker-destroying "LFO", which is one of the immortals of early British techno. It's cold and warm at the same time, tough and laid-back, the kind of anti-music that must have horrified grown-ups at the time. The bass is something to behold, too. It's got a hidden punch. You think that the doo-doodoo noise that comes in near the start is the bassline, but it's not. The real bassline comes in later on and it's a mother. It's odd, feeling nostalgic for a Speak and Spell machine and some square waves, but it takes me back to when I first heard it, all those years ago. The LFO-fest that follows is a bit much, though. I would have split the tracks up.

Some of the tracks aren't very good. Tuff Little Unit's "Join the Future", apart from having an ironic title, sounds like the kind of music that plays in the background when you install a pirated copy of Adobe Photoshop. "Testfour" is basically a remix of "Testone", which I heard a few tracks earlier. Nightmares on Wax's "A Case of Funk" is okay but the mastering sounds iffy, with the bassline too loud for the rest of the track. It's weak and thin and smooth-jazzy. Is there a more elegant way of saying "the track that was made by Nightmares on Wax" that doesn't involve writing "Nightmares on Wax's"?

Classics comes to an end in 1992, the same year that Warp released the first of its influential and fondly-remembered Artificial Intelligence compilations. None of the artists that appear on Classics appear on Artificial Intelligence, although Richie Hawtin's FUSE released an album in the series that followed. It's as if the label started again from scratch, and it's a testament to genius of Warp that the label had enough talent to do so without missing a beat. I lost touch with Warp in the 2000s. As I understand it there was enough inertia to foster a third generation of talent, but not a fourth, and nowadays Warp is drowning in nostalgia. But it still exists.

Compared to the generation that emerged on the Artificial Intelligence series, Classics feels like a false start, although the roots are there. Most of the acts that appeared on it either disappeared shortly afterwards or mutated into something else. Nightmares on Wax, for example, carried on as a really good up-beat trip-hop stoner band, totally unlike the harsh bleepy techno act that appears on Classics. So there's a certain melancholy to the compilation, as if Warp wanted to close a lid on their early years. As the 1990s progressed Warp's music became wibblier and wobblier until, by the time Classics came out, the label was *the*. The *it*. The one that you sent your demo tape to. Your demo minidisc.

And, yeah, Classics has "Tricky Disco", which spent eight weeks in the chart and got to number 14. It's a bleepy novelty number with chipmunk voices. It makes me smile whenever I hear it although I can imagine fans of Warp wondering what the label was thinking when they released it. It paid the bills. I like it. Tricky!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only for the headstrong hardcore you know the score, 9 Nov 2010
This review is from: Warp 10+2: Classics 89-92 (Audio CD)
The tracks on here are early nineties techno/rave from the best label of the genre/era. Theres no competition so easily available to buy. You could spend months and lots of lovely lolly trying to do better and still end up with a load of hiss pop and crackle. Seriously though this is the stuff that got me into Acid house techno rave on the dancefloor. Madchester comes close with the stone roses happy mondays inspiral carpets and followers but that was best left at home come the weekend the best thing to do was hit the floor with your funky dance routine whistle posse in effect reach for the lazers and never come down I'm still recovering from the Nightmares on Wax. House music all night long house music all night long only for the headstrong.
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Warp 10+2: Classics 89-92
Warp 10+2: Classics 89-92 by Warp 10 (Series) (Audio CD - 2001)
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