Customer Review

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compilation of past highlights and a signpost to the future, 26 Sep 2009
This review is from: Warp20 (Chosen) (Audio CD)
Rather than taking the "compendium" approach that the Warp label (successfully) took for the series of compilations marking its 10th anniversary, this 2 disc 20th birthday release takes a more inventive direction by having the fans (on disc 1) and the label owner Steve Beckett (on disc 2) as compilers. Whilst, having read the pre-release tracklistings, I was initially sceptical of how well this would work, you can't really argue with the approach.

Very few of my favourite Warp tracks are on here but I think to present the usual "Why are compilations ****?" approach doesn't work in this context. You have to take a wider view and appreciate a) these songs are what the fans of the label like (so maybe it's time to re-examine some of them) and b) that the tracks on the second disc are the ones the Warp founder likes and as such have inherent validity.

Warp have, from the beginning, always put a commendable amount of faith in the artist album - as opposed to other "dance" labels who churn out 12" week after week then knock up the occasional "best of" CD. Paradoxically, why this compilation works for me is that it presents an opportunity to hear the tracks in a fresh, out-of-album context. Even I, a diehard techno fan, admit that 70-minute Autechre albums can be a little heavy to listen to end-to-end. That's not to say that "Chosen" is easy listening. OK, so "Windowlicker" (Warp's "Blue Monday"?) IS on here, but overall this LP's about as non-standard a "best of" as you can get. But it works - not only as an entry point, but also as a challenging listen. You certainly can't criticize Steve Beckett for cobbling together a collection of Warp's biggest sellers on one CD as a means of boosting the label's pre-Xmas cash flow via a consumer-friendly "greatest hits" package. That's because he hasn't...not that we would ever have expected him to. In fact Beckett's selections are, if anything, surprising. But then he has had 20 years to formulate them.

As the late Tony Wilson once said: "follow the art", which seems to be what Warp have done here - or at least they have followed their hearts.

(NB: more Warp20 action to be found at Warp20 (Recreated).)
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Reviewer

Colin Mccartney
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Location: United Kingdom

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