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What does Warp mean to you?
If you’re of the school of thought that all computer-derived beats should be banished from record stores, the racks instead filled with hairy men and their guitars, then please, pass along. Your narrow-minded opinion is, to be polite, depressing.
If, though, the pioneering Sheffield label means the absolute world to you, responsible as it is for the introduction of artists as wildly disparate as Aphex Twin, Broadcast, Battles, LFO, Squarepusher, Gravenhurst and Grizzly Bear – and many, many more (not all of whom fall into the electronica category, of course) – then this 20-years-in-the-business marking collection will have your mouth watering, heart palpitating and eyes filling with tears: of nostalgia, of euphoria, of the hope that music’s future is going to be every bit as dazzling as the talents on display here.
And if this set represents your first dalliance with Warp, well: this writer is incredibly envious of your obvious wealth, and jealous indeed of the thrills you’ll experience during virgin plays of the likes of Luke Vibert, Chris Clark and Autechre.
Beginners are well catered for as it happens, with a selection of tracks chosen by fans of Warp featuring classic cuts Windowlicker, Gantz Graf and Atlas. Label co-founder Steve Beckett complements the devotee-voted collection, his choices collecting together the broken beats of Flying Lotus and the ethereal splendour of Broadcast, and including the great AFX/Squarepusher collaboration, Freeman Hardy & Willis Acid.
Those well-versed in Warp lore, though, will skip immediately to the previously unheard inclusions. Highlights include a deliciously downbeat Seven Forty Seven from Boards of Canada and two dub mixes of tracks from the debut Nightmares on Wax album. Clark’s Rattlesnake is two minutes of glitch bliss that manages to summarise the man’s career to date amazingly effectively, effortless in its elegance but brutal of beat.
A vast array of covers comprises much of this package’s recorded element. Pivot doing Grizzly Bear, Born Ruffians tackling Aphex Twin, Vibert’s interpretation of LFO, Plaid reimagining Plone: loved artists are paid tribute to with respect, but never is originality thrown to the wind.
A 192-page book, The Complete Catalogue, presents every piece of artwork to proudly wear the Warp logo, while set-exclusive CD mix Elemental and double-10” loop collection Infinite round off a perfectly sumptuous celebration of one of the UK’s most important labels. Surely 20 more isn’t asking too much? --Mike Diver
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Top customer reviews
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).)
Really though, how it could such a collection not include any Prefuse 73 though? Or Maximo Park?
Very strange to leave out two of the label's most important artists of their last few years.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
01. Aphex Twin 'Windowlicker'
02. Boards Of Canada 'Roygbiv'
03. Squarepusher 'My Red Hot Car'
04. Battles 'Atlas'
05. LFO 'LFO (Leeds Warehouse Mix)'
06. Plaid 'Eyen'
07. Luke Vibert 'I Love Acid'
08. Autechre 'Gantz Graf'
09. Jimmy Edgar 'I Wanna Be Your STD'
10. Clark 'Herzog'
01. Broadcast 'Tender Buttons'
02. Grizzly Bear "Colorado"
03. Squarepusher 'My Sound'
04. Boards Of Canada 'Amo Bishop Roden'
05. Battles 'Race : Out'
06. Flying Lotus 'GNG BNG'
07. Black Dog Productions - Xeper 'Carceres Ex Novum'
08. Nightmares On Wax 'I'm For Real'
09. Mike Ink 'Paroles (Original)'
10. Aphex Twin 'Bucephalus Bouncing Ball'
11. Jamie Lidell 'Daddy's Car'
12. Squarepusher/AFX 'Freeman Hardy & Willis Acid'
13. Seefeel 'Spangle'
14. Autechre 'Drane'
When Warp first announced it's 20 year anniversary collections I was hoping for something a bit more inclusive for a tracklist. Many of the fascinating artists that I became hooked onto Warp as a label are absent from this 2 disc set. It would take more real-estate to house them all onto one collection and even with the deluxe box-set that this release is culled from it would be a monumental task. There is simply too much good music from this one label.
As far as the selections are concerned there is little to debate about. The first CD's tracklist, determined by an open voting poll, represents mostly the "greatest hits" from each of the ten artists voted on. Warp built it's name and reputation on the strength of it's electronic artists during the 90's so its not surprising there is a heavy tilt towards that facet of the label's history. These tracks are all strong, from the sleazy vibe of Aphex Twin's "Windowlicker", the thumping tempo of Battles' "Atlas", the classic sleek sounds of "LFO", and the spastic freak-out of Autechre's "Gantz Graf". My only wish is that, at only 48 minutes, the first disc could have room for 5 or more "runner-ups" from the voting list.
The second disc is even more curious, with all selections chosen by one individual, Warp co-founder Steve Beckett. Again, these are all good choices, most of which were new to my ears upon first listen. I would not have nessecarily chosen the Broadcast or Squarepusher selections here as the best from each respective artist, but overall this disc has the fun and sense of discovery of receiving a mix-tape from a good friend. (I know I just aged myself with that last comment.) This CD runs well over an hour.
In short, this is an excellent overview of Warp's impressive 20 year run and a great sampler for the curious.
Chosen is a fantastic (if brief) look at the better moments of the Warp catalog. Any fan of electronic music not initiated in the ways of the Warp should download or pick up.
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