The term “iconic” gets bandied about a lot, but if any label’s deserving of such prefix it’s this esteemed indie. Founded by Steve Beckett, Rob Mitchell and Robert Gordon in Sheffield, back in 1989, Warp Records has since become synonymous with ground-breaking electronic music, putting out records by Autechre, Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, Brian Eno, Flying Lotus and Boards of Canada. Below you’ll find a few of our favourite artists, as well as recent releases and all-time classics.
He might have kept us waiting six years for the follow-up to Butter, but Glasgow-born Ross “Hud Mo” Birchard has been anything but idle in the interim. There was 2011’s Satin Panthers EP, his collaborative TNGHT project with Lunice, last year’s superb single ‘Chimes’, and that’s before we even address the steady stream of remixes, or his production work for Kanye, Drake and Lil Wayne. Lantern feels stronger for its lengthy gestation period, boasting a sense of focus that (at times) eluded the maverick producer on his chaotic debut. Buckle up for frenetic beats, sugary synth-stabs and skewed samples, as Hud Mo joyrides through genres as seemingly diverse as hip hop and happy hardcore.
LA’s Steven Ellison has been impressing Warp aficionados since 2008, but 2010’s Cosmogramma was the release that truly cemented the Flying Lotus legend. Showcasing his long-standing love for Dilla-esque hip-hop, and the free jazz influences he doubtless inherited as great nephew of Alice Coltrane, his unanimously-adored third album pioneered a neo-psychedelic take on leftfield electronic. His latest release, You’re Dead, was equally acclaimed, and featured cameos from Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and long-time collaborator Thundercat.
Building on the promise of 2010’s acclaimed debut, Julie Campbell released her superb second album back in March 2015. As per Nerve Up, Hinterland found the Manchester-based musician harnessing the jittery energy and clean lines of post-punk, but offering wider variety in styles. From the programmed beats and scratchy funk riff of ‘Groove It Out’ to the arty sprawl of ‘Flee!’ – which brought together atonal string drones and flickering feedback – it was a sleek, spellbinding listen, and it remains one of our favourite albums of 2015 so far.
Having blown everyone away with the experimental math-rock of 2007’s Mirrored, Battles suffered a near-fatal blow in 2010 when key member Tyondai Braxton departed the band. Instead of crumbling, the remaining trio simply returned to the studio and emerged with the towering, Technicolor experimentalism of Gloss Drop. The NYC-based noiseniks are now poised to return in September with La Di Da Di, a third LP billed as a “mushrooming monolith of repetition.” So what if we’re not entirely sure what that means; we still can’t wait to hear it.