Staying a step ahead of the competition is always tricky business, but electronic music presents a particularly unique challenge. As a genre dependent on the advancements of technology, it markets itself as the sound of the future, yet as we continue to develop advanced machinery at an increasingly frantic pace, this music has a tendency to date itself more rapidly than other forms. What’s more quaint than listening to music that purports to be cutting edge long after our cultural standards have surpassed its once-lofty goals?
Warp Records has never had an issue with releasing timeless music. Formed in Sheffield, England, in 1989, Warp has built one of the most imposing and consistently challenging catalogs, not just in electronic, but in all types of music. Although Warp does pride itself on exposing strange, exciting new sounds, the artists it fosters are equally concerned with creating work that stands on its own two legs, regardless of what instruments were used to produce it. It’s music built as much for the dance floor as for your living room, not to mention Warp’s various detours into schizo-rap, indie-prog, dance-tent EDM, and whatever the hell Gonjasufi is supposed to be. Most of all, Warp has gracefully avoided the trap of desperately chasing after bandwagons to hop on, choosing instead to take chances on radical voices from the underground and give them plenty of room to push their work to wild new extremes.
Though electronic music is at the mercy of technology to some extent, the human imagination has no limits. Take a tour through Warp Records’ expansive legacy, and remember that the future is always now.