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Various Artists: WARP 10+1 (INFLUENCES) WARP 10+2 (CLASSICS 89-92) WARP 10+3 (REMIXES) (Warp)

Various Artists: WARP 10+1 (INFLUENCES) WARP 10+2 (CLASSICS 89-92) WARP 10+3 (REMIXES) (Warp)

For the past 10 years, the Sheffield-based independent record label Warp has released a large proportion of electronic music's most innovative and exciting material. It is currently the home of, among others, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Autechre and Two Lone Swordsmen. They're celebrating their anniversary withthree double albums of music. The first, Influences, is a comprehensive survey of early house music and the dawn of techno. It includes slices of musical history that every household should have if it doesn't already - Phuture's "Acid Tracks", A Guy Called Gerald's "Voodoo Ray" and the one Warp tried to sign as their first release, Unique 3's "The Theme".

The second album, Classics, contains tracks from Warp's first four years. The 18 releases are mostly by LFO, Nightmares on Wax and Sweet Exorcist. It is an essential compilation that preserves the roots of the current scene and engenders a peculiar sensation of nostalgia towards that dated set of simple beeps and bleeps that sounded so revolutionary at the time.

Remixes is the most interesting of these three albums. It's got the same blend of pure brilliance, sometimes successful avant-garde experimentalism and occasional unlistenable-to rubbish that characterises the label's output. The highlights includeRed Snapper's mashed-up cover of the Sabres of Paradise's dance-hall classic "Wilmot". As ever, some remixes are doomed to failure because the originals are just too good. But Remixes comes from a label that, after looking to the obscure and Leftfield for so much of their past inspiration, is justified and welcome to do a bit of navel-gazing on its birthday.

Laurence Phelan

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