Time warp evolution

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When, in such a time as this, it becomes necessary to look back and to make evaluations of the past and the various contributions that gave it shape, it becomes a fitting coincidence that the eminent Warp Records happens to be celebrating its 10th anniversary. To illustrate the point, they’ve come up with a three-part compilation series that’s collectively as brilliant as each of the wicked yet playful records they’ve been releasing, one by one, for the past decade.

Each of the three double-disc releases contains a different view of Warp. Exhibiting a striking display of humility with the first in the series, Warp10+1 Influences, an archival study of pre-Warp begins. Showcased are such artists as the Detroit trio (Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins) as well as appropriate respect to the likes of 808 State and A Guy Called Gerald.

Enter Warp Records’ emergence with Warp10+2 Classics 89-92. Therein find such seminal staples as Nightmares on Wax, Sweet Exorcist, LFO and Tricky Disco – and the label founders’ vision of appealing not only to the dance floor but to the intellect as well becomes realized.

The slightly confusing part comes with Warp10+3 Remixes. It’s at this point that the what-would-be original artist contributions from the years 1993 through 1999 – including Aphex Twin, Jimi Tenor, Boards of Canada, Autechre and Squarepusher – are traded in for all new remixed versions. The result is an incomplete history, but a collector’s item if you’ve already been on the Warp tip. Still, there was never a moment when anyone envisioned Jim O’Rourke remixing Autechre, Spiritualized placing its touch on LFO or the computer-generated Oval screwing up Squarepusher even more than it already is.

As a set, the series reveals the evolution of a label that has been producing some of this globe’s most enterprising dance tunes. It is also a fond homage to the last two decades, signifying an era during which electronic music has left an indelible mark on the pages of this century’s history books.

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