A few years after the release of LFO, Warp was still enjoying moderate success, carving itself a niche as the label of experimental artists and revolutionary ideas. In 1992, Warp started what they called the Artificial Intelligence series. Designed to show the creative and flexible sounds that could be achieved with electronic equipment, Warp themselves described it as "Electronic Listening Music" to not be played as background or in DJ sets, but to be listened to with "an open mind"
The cover to the first compilation features an Android asleep in an armchair surrounded by Kraftwerk and Pink Floyd albums. Steve Beckett explains:
"You could sit down and listen to it like you would a Kraftwerk or Pink Floyd album. That's why we put those sleeves on the cover of Artificial Intelligence - to get it into people's minds that you weren't supposed to dance to it! ”
—Steve Beckett, Co-Founder of Warp, on the Artificial Intelligence I compilation
The artificial Intelligence Series Consists of 8 albums (2 of which are compilations) by artists such as Autechre, F.U.S.E, Black Dog Productions and Polygon Window (AKA Aphex Twin)
Obviously I can't post all of these albums, so it came down to Polygon Window or Autechre, and Autechre won in the IDM department (which is a term I hate, but will use for easy identification and whatnot)
Incunabula (derived from the Latin for something in it's infancy or in early development) is a very strange album indeed, it wasn't actually intended to BE an album, it was simply a compilation Autechre sent in to Warp shortly after they were signed. It sounds incredibly futuristic for it's time (as did almost all of the AI series) yet Incunabula resonates on a higher level, the music is cold and metallic with futuristic stylings; yet it manages to be warm, fuzzy and nostalgic at the same time thanks to the analogue equipment.
The limited edition was pressed on silver vinyl, combined with the artwork, very reminiscent of Kraftwerk no?
Anyway, The introduction from the album will back up everything I've said, featuring the signature warm synths and industrial-esque beats
Autechre - Kalpol Introl
and while I'm here I have some more tracks from this truly classic milestone in the history of IDM to share with you.
This track sums up almost the entire album perfectly, using simple bleeps to create something intricate
Autechre - Bike
Autriche follows the same pattern, this time throwing muffled vocal samples in with the synths and beats. A treat for headphone users
Autechre - Autriche
Eggshell was originally released on AI 1 compilation as The Egg, which was a more dance floor friendly version of Shell, which on the album is a nine minute example of how the equipment of the era could be pushed to do extraordinary things
Autechre - Eggshell
Lowride doesn't fit with the rest, it's not dark or industrial at all it's almost chillout, a genre which hadn't been invented yet :P
Autechre - Lowride
The final track caps everything off nicely with a slow and lumbering quasi-ambient intro eventually giving way to more beats and bloops. A must listen
Autechre - 444
also, a nice bonus for all of you bothered to read all this, Aphex Twin's other release from 1993, On. Released in November of 1993, the Twin begins to experiment with IDM moving away from his acid house roots. The result was another incredible hit for the style, and cemented it's place in the world of electronic music as a legitimate genre
On is a lovely piece starting off soft with a piano and a rainstorm sample. However it soon morphs into a monster that is the baby of Acid and AFX's newly evolving style. and it still sounds fresh today
Aphex Twin - On
The other standout track is 73-Yips which is Aphex's last attempt at anything Acidy. It goes down a treat though, definitley a staple for anyone who is a fan of the Twin.
Aphex Twin - 73-Yips
and after all that, I must leave. Sorry for the wall of text, but the story of warp demands to be heard :D
Dispensing the modern classics,
-Claude Van Foxbat