Warp Essentials

With so many classic releases on Warp, it’s hard to know where to begin and easy to overlook some of the output. Here’s our pick of the absolute must-haves

Feature by Bram Gieben | 27 Oct 2009

Boards of Canada – Music Has the Right to Children

Filtered vocal loops and found sounds echo hypnotically over dubbed-out electronic soundscapes, producing a classic LP which is restful and restless in equal measure. The reclusive BoC are secretive about their recording process and equipment, and seem to inhabit a charmed world of strangely pastoral electronica. Exquisite stuff.

Aphex Twin – I Care Because You Do

The inimitable electronic pioneer and undisputed Emperor of bedroom producers, Richard D James experiments on this album with analogue strings, extended drum loops and (on Ventolin) sampled coughing, producing what is perhaps his most coherent album. Of course, once you own this, you’ll be wanting the rest of his albums too. I Care… is a great starter for ten.

Battles – Mirrored

For years, experimental rock music has been the forte of plodding, glacial noise merchants like Mogwai or Godspeed. Then came Battles. Known for looping extended jams live on stage and distorting vocals with an array of analogue and electronic devices, their debut Mirrored is arguably the first successful update of experimental rock in two decades. Tracks like Atlas are undeniably insistent and hook-laden, while retaining a level of sonic innovation not heard since Can’s Egebamyasi.

Anti-Pop Consortium – Arrhythmia

Incorporating elements of glitch, electro, techno and ambient while imitating none of these, it is impossible to estimate how influential APC’s first long-player was on the hip-hop scene. Ghostlawns was a crossover club hit, opening the minds of a generation of techno fans to the hyper-literate wordplay of the APC emcees. A slew of electronic hip-hop has followed, from Kanye to Cadence Weapon. APC are, quite simply, the daddies.

Plaid – Double Figure

Using a template of aquatic, rounded, smoothed-out electro, Plaid produced this masterpiece of sonic understatement. The chord progressions, melodies and arrangements are almost classical in their elegance, but avoid the trappings of ambient music by maintaining a pulsing, warm bass undercurrent and crisp drums. Few analogue instruments were used on Double Figure, but it is nonetheless one of the most organic and enchanting electronic albums ever released.