Jun 30, 2019
Happy 30th anniversary, Warp Records
Warp Records has been celebrating its 30th birthday - it's the same age as Taylor Swift, Daniel Radcliffe and the twins who played Carl Gallagher in Shameless.
The first Warp track I heard was LFO's LFO, quickly followed by Tricky Disco's Tricky Disco. Both were UK top 40 hits - I know that because I taped the charts religiously every week: both songs would have degraded gloriously as I tape-to-tape copied them onto successive home compilations. Aside from loving the electronic simplicity of the records, having eponymous songs seemed weirdly rebellious.
Then came the Artificial Intelligence compilations, my musical fulcrum from which everything spewed, which featured Polygon Window, The Black Dog, Beaumont Hannant and B12. Warp also gave us some incredibly beautiful artist albums, most notably from - of course - Aphex Twin, Boards Of Canada, Autechre and Richard H Kirk. You already know this.
I remember Warp's tectonic plates shifting when they moved to London. A bit like when Boddingtons shut down their Manchester brewery. They widened their electronic remit (Warp, that is, not Boddies), bringing in acts like Anti Pop Consortium who sounded wonky and wild. And now they rule the world with artists like Flying Lotus, Plaid, Bibio, Kelela and Oneohtrix Point Never. You can catch a stack of the label's 30th anniversary broadcasts here.
Happy birthday, Warp. I'm glad you're still going strong, and I'm glad you're still putting out music by the likes of Lorenzo Senni, which has all the vital energy as your early stuff. I'll be forever grateful to the label being a beacon of quality techno, and the basis for a lot of further record browsing across a zillion other labels.
If I had one criticism, it would be that there doesn't seem to be much eponymous song titling these days. Just saying. If you want to release Fat Roland's Fat Roland, you know who to call.