"We are reasonable people." The progressive electronic music label out of the UK that is home to artists like Aphex Twin, LFO and Squarepusher.

They just turned ten last year, and they released a heap of very good music. With a wide range of artists on their label, they make available an entire spectrum of sound bridging all imaginable genres. It's good stuff, and you should hear some when you get the chance. Some people like to call it IDM.

Oh yeh, their fave colour is purple. Find out more at http://www.warp-net.com

Here's a partial list of their artists:

Aphex Twin
The Black Dog
Boards of Canada
Jimi Tenor
Stereolab (newly so)

if there's anything I ought to add, & I can hard link it.
To my delight (and yours, if you know what's good for you), Warp has just founded an American division! All American releases of future Warp recordings will be handled by Caroline Distribution, with the exception of bands with preexisting stateside deals such as Aphex Twin, Red Snapper, and Broadcast.

This seems to bring to an end Nothing Records' deals with Squarepusher, Autechre, and Plaid. Thanks to Dyslexic for confirmation.

The first American releases by the new division will be Plaid's Trainer and Two Lone Swordsmen's Tiny Reminders. Look for them to hit the States on October 31.

The Warpography as of November 11, 2001. Will be updated as new albums come out.


Singles and EPs:

"Techno is music that you couldn't imagine hearing before you hear it. Or 'techno' = 'good', e.g. this sandwich is techno.'" - Steve Beckett, Warp Records

Gather round children, and let me tell you a tale. A tale of the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and techno records were really really good. A tale from the frozen north of England - from Sheffield to be precise, where two young men called Steve Beckett and Rob Mitchell were working in a record shop. This was 1989, and acid house was exploding in the UK. Local producers were flooding the shop with white labels and customers were queuing up to buy them, but no labels seemed to be interested. Rob and Steve resolved to do something.

After a failed attempt to sign Unique 3's The Theme, they picked the Forgemasters' Track With No Name as their first release, and with an Enterprise Allowance grant pressed up 500 copies. The new label took its name - Warp Records - from the name of the shop. The record sleeve was purple.

The Forgemasters were soon followed by tracks from acts like Nightmares on Wax, Sweet Exorcist, Tricky Disco and LFO (the latter hitting number 12 in the UK singles chart with their eponymous debut), and a Warp Sound began to emerge, characterised by speaker rattling sub-bass, raw but emotional electronic melodies, a minimal aesthetic and bucketloads of machine soul. These early UK techno records were first generation children of the Detroit Three, but also drew on electro sounds (according to Nightmares on Wax's George Evelyn "the Northern crowd were all ex-breakers - we just heard house as an aspect of hip hop, like faster electro") as well as the deep ragga bass that would later fuel jungle and drum and bass. Because of its characteristic electronic sound, the new style was dubbed Bleep.

Three years down the line, however, Warp began to loose their momentum as a bleeding edge dancefloor force. The UK dance scene had evolved and fractured, and bleep's zeitgeist had passed. But their next move, whether it was part of a masterplan or just a random decision, would reposition them at the forefront of electronic music in a completely different direction. They released a compilation, Artificial Intelligences, and with it gave identity to a new sound. This sound still derived from electro and Detroit techno, but mixed in ambient and experimental elements, and soon left the dancefloor behind. They called it Electronic Listening Music, but as the initial compilation was followed up by seminal albums from Autechre, the Aphex Twin, B12 and the Black Dog, the tag became IDM, from the name of the mailing list that sprung up to discuss the new music.1

Throughout the mid to late nineties Warp continued to develop and support the sound, signing new artists as diverse as Squarepusher, Broadcast, Boards of Canada and Jimi Tenor, and become easily the best known and most respected name in experimental electronica. After celebrating their tenth birthday in 1999 with a series of compilations and gigs, Warp finally gave in to the inevitable and moved to London. They also opened an online store, Warpmart, selling their records alongside those of fellow travellers from labels like Rephlex, Skam and Schematic.

In 2001, the techno world mourned the death from cancer of Warp founder Rob Mitchell. But the label carried on apace. They've launched Bleep - a DRMless mp3 download service. They've launched two imprints: the hip hop oriented Lex Records, and Arcola for more dancefloor friendly tracks. And circa 2004, the core Warp sound has spread to include experimental hip hop and leftfield indie on an equal footing with their traditional freaky electronics. This move has predictably annoyed some hardcore techno heads, but playing it safe and stagnating was never really on the Warp agenda. As Rob put it, "it's a stamp of quality rather than a stamp of genre. It's like having a nutty mate who points out good records to you.... "

Some key records (a personal selection)

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