Various - Warp 20(Boxset)

Liam Lonegran 14/07/2009

Rating: 4/5

1989. A blip and a crackle echoed throughout Britain's eighth wonder. An electronic catalyst began to spark in the grey expanse of Sheffield's industrial landscape. Amongst the clank of steel was the crank of Steve Beckett's internal motor as his mind began to conceive the highly influential Warp records. 1989. The year of rag-tag sound systems and free parties infecting Britain's rural greenery. The year Jive Bunny spat carrot all over the charts. The year I was born, my upbringing running in correlation with Warps evolution.

Founded by the aforementioned Steve Beckett, the late Rob Mitchell and producer Robert Gordon, Warp twisted upwards from the embryo of it's first release 'Track With No Name” by Forgemasters. With only 500 pressings being tossed from the rusted boot of a borrowed car, these humble beginnings didn't give any sort of indication of the rising empire that eventually fucked the exhaust. With Nightmares on Wax and LFO being added to the roster by year 10, the number of sales gradually swelled from triple digits to multiple zeroes. The latter outfit even managed to score a Top 20 hit in 1990 with the self titled hit 'LFO”. With the aid of the ecstasy fuelled Acid House scene, Beckett and co. managed to dissect the clouds with a profitable business venture.

From electric tadpoles to thunderous frogs. By 2000 Jive Bunny had hibernated, Acid House was sectioned and I began to morph into a cum-starched acne gnome but Warp penetrated the public consciousness and even tipped into the mainstream with breakthrough signings such as Aphex Twin (the ginger jester with a chest full of melody) and Grizzly Bear (the boys with voices like Baroque-style eunuchs). Though, having said that, it's the fact that they still occupy certain underground bunkers that allows the electronica purists to get excited about Warps 20 year celebratory offering.

Compiling a 192-page book, a double CD of tracks chosen by Pied Piper Beckett and Warps trailing children, and a covers CD (all presented in a plush box set) the Warp20 package is an item to make ardent anti-materialists salivate. A perfect assortment of experimental sound (scabby beeps, lucid guitar), ranging from Hudson Mohawke's ketamin rhythm to Boards of Canada's sailing soundscape that is for newcomers and completists alike.

See my Top 10 tracks @: here

Warp20 details @: here