WXAXRXP 30th Anniversary
Warp Records celebrate their 30th anniversary with three-day NTS Radio takeover, including exclusive mixes and giveaways.
For the past 30 years, UK based label Warp Records have been consistently setting the bar in the electronic music world, always pushing the boundaries of the genre and thrilling music fans worldwide.
Founded by Steve Beckett and Rob Mitchell in the back of a record store in Sheffield in 1989, Warp has become the pioneer of its genre with a unique yet reliable catalogue of electronic music. Responsible for bringing to the world the likes of Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Squarepusher and Nightmares on Wax, plus loads more, Warp have also more recently ventured into film, art installations and their own online independent record store, Bleep.com.
This weekend, Warp are set to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Partnering with NTS, they’ll bring together their legendary roster with a packed out 100-hour schedule of music, including exclusive mixes, tributes and giveaways.
As part of the celebrations and in honour of the release of our recent Bass Station AFX update, listeners will have the chance to get their hands on a very limited edition Warp Records x Aphex Twin x Novation Bass Station II, 1 of only 5 made. For a chance to win, simply sign up for the WXAXRXP mailing list following the link below.
We’ve also compiled a selection of our favourite Warp releases spanning the past thirty years. With so many releases, we could have kept this list going on for ages, but here are ten particular highlights from the past three decades chosen by some of the team over at Novation HQ:
Mick Gilbert // Head of Customer Experience
Nightmares on Wax, Smokers Delight - 1995
"To me this is the album that introduced me to trip-hop/downtempo, which to this day would be my answer to a ‘favourite genre’ question if I was forced to choose. A master piece of fluid grooves and textures that I spent many an evening chilling out to over the last 20 years. Setup by the slow build into ‘Nights Introlude’, just writing this and thinking about it chills me out!"
Dave Hodder // Head of Product Innovation
WARP CD44 Blech II - Blechsdöttir - 1996
"I think it's fair to say this album changed my life. As a reluctant grunge kid from a comprehensive school where you had to pick a side ("metaller" or "raver"), I knew I wanted more from music. I'd dabbled with electronica, but until I heard Blech, I didn't know music like this was even possible. It could be anything it wanted to be - deep, funny, dark, clever, silly, funky - often all at the same time. As a teenager, that was a message I really needed to hear!"
Mario Buoninfante // QA Engineer
Boards of Canada, Tomorrow's Harvest - 2013
"It's a masterpiece! Like all their works this doesn't fall into any label. A timeless, beautiful, sonic adventure, rich of esoteric and cinematic soundscapes, where the sound turns into images and all is required of you is to close your eyes and be ready for what is probably one of the most interesting journeys you'll ever have."
Alex Jann // UK South Sales Manager
Two Lone Swordsmen, A Virus With Shoes - 1999
"One of my all-time favourite albums. The down-tempo electronic bleeped out project from Keith Tenniswood (Radioactive Man) and Andrew Weatherall. The two have both held longstanding and meaningful careers as solo artists, which is impressive in itself, but this project really caught my attention with its tripped-out weirdness and sawing samples, poly-rhythms and almost organic sounds. Perfect “back-to-ours” fodder for after the afters."
Favourite track: Cloned Christ On a Hover Donkey (Be Thankful)
Jonathan Campbell // Product Manager for Customer Lifetime Value
Flying Lotus, You’re Dead! – 2015
"The variation on this LP is unreal. Its jazzy and futuristic at the same time. He also gets some amazing features on this album too, the track with Kendrick Lamar, ‘Never Catch Me’, stands out as this is one of the biggest stars in their prime double time rapping over a drum & bass influenced breakbeat tune with an insane guitar solo in the middle. That’s just about the most Flylo thing ever!"
Joe Deller // Test Automation Developer
StereoLab, Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements - 1993
"After suffering years of those “sons of dung beetles” Stock Aitken Waterman in the mid 80s to early 90s (I’m the same age as some of the band), artists like StereoLab weren’t so much as a shot in the arm as full on surgical limb replacement. The “do it ourselves vibe” borrowed from early punk ethos that had by now been consumed into mainstream and the scourge of the New Romantics was upon us and it was not good. StereoLab didn’t burst onto the scene, they started building one from the ground up. Before there was shoegaze, there was StereoLab. Mixing French chic, existentialism, deceptive minimalism with wall of noise, tracks often leave you wondering “what was that about?” and the band would reply “Yes”. They produced “Product” not songs. Live performances were often chaotic, verging on awkward, yet deceptively polished. Their style progressed with descending into the self-indulgent pomp that prog rock had fallen into. The music has aged well, Jenny Ondioline sounds as bonkers today as it did years ago, “Life on Earth is a bloody hazard, it’s a fact”. Can’t argue with that Lætitia."
Favourite track: Jenny Ondioline
Justin Foster // Research Engineer
Autechre, Confield – 2001
"It was so refreshing to hear something that moved way beyond the standard pop instrumentation and form. The distinctions between drums, chords and melodies were for the most part completely broken down. This made me listen deeper to the evolving sonic textures. You could no longer hear something like a hi-hat loop a few times then ignore it (as with so much other music), Autechre now demands your attention. For this album, Autechre created bespoke music software using Max/MSP to great effect, shattering through the restrictions imposed when using a conventional DAW of the time. At the time this album came out I was just finishing my degree in Music Composition which involved a lot of study of avant-garde music, at the same time I had started to really get into techno. Autechre was for me one of the only things that successfully bridged the gap, connecting the two worlds."
Danny Nugent // Novation Product Designer
Flying Lotus, Los Angeles – 2008
"This is the album that introduced me to the LA Beat Scene. The whole album is littered with elements I love; off kilter beats, woozy synths, psychedelic samples. Fly Lo has such a great approach to layering his sounds, maximalist in his approach without sounding overly complex, each layer intricately knitted together and playing off each other. Throughout is this hazy, lo-fi aesthetic making me dream I was out in LA."
Nick Venables // VP EMEA Distribution
Boards of Canada, Telephasic Workshop – 1998
"This dropped through my letterbox as a 10” promo back in the late 90’s when I was a working DJ. It was ground breaking in its approach and use of samples, and I loved the way it constructed rhythms with the vocal samples. I loved it when it was released, and I still listen to it 20 years later."
James Dibley // Junior Firmware Engineer
Seefeel, Succour – 1995
"This would convincingly resemble a lost cousin of Selected Ambient Works Vol II, if not for the deep dub rhythms that propel it through a strange, smeared soundworld of treated feedback and wordless vocals. Empty space never sounded so humid or so sensual, and the best record I know to play loudly in total darkness."
Chris Calcutt // EMEA Product Specialist
Aphex Twin, Richard D James Album – 1996
"From the opening bars of this albums first track “4” it is plain your hearing a programming master at work. In many ways the RDJ album is his most sensible and sensitive work, the musicality pours out of the melodies and harmonies throughout. Use of orchestral string sounds on tracks like Boy/Girl Song and Goon Gumpas settle the album into Aphex Twin’s most accessible offering. That’s not to say there isn’t a liberal smattering of typical Aphex madness on this too. Peek 8245201 and Carn Marth take us right back to the usual “dentist chair” Aphex we know and love."