Since their 1989 inception, Warp has been at the vanguard of electronic music, continually seeking out artists who don’t just offer interesting variations on familiar sounds, but rather disassemble the music entirely, building new structures from the pieces. They’ve proven unafraid to embrace the avant-garde; whether it’s Aphex Twin’s still-terrifying video for “Come to Daddy” or Flying Lotus’s psychedelic hybrid of dance, jazz, funk, and electronic music (not to mention his visually stunning live show), Warp are one of the labels who set the standard for what popular music could do.
Born in Sheffield, the home of electronic outsiders like Cabaret Voltaire, Warp began with modest ambitions. “At the time we didn’t think we were setting up a label necessarily,” co-founder Steve Beckett said in an interview with FACT Magazine. “It was more about, ‘Let’s do this 12-inch and see if it can have an effect.’” As time went on, they refined their approach, moving from techno bangers into headier music designed for close listening and attentive consumption. That legacy continues into the present, with bold new LPs from Yves Tumor, Oneohtrix Point Never, and others, all of whom operate outside any specific musical grid. Whether you’re looking to soundtrack your next one-person quarantine club night or get lost in a maze of ever-changing electronic sounds, Warp has all the music you need.
You can listen to a guide to the label’s catalog on this week’s Bandcamp Weekly.