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Time To Go To School

Various Artists
Warp 10+1 Influences

Take me back to the old school, cause I'm an old fool.

OK, so I'm not actually that old, but when Warp first became a label, I was just into my teen years living in a small town in middle America. I already had some ideas about what music I liked, but I had yet to hear much electronic music, even though it was exploding all over the world. At that time, Steve Beckett and Rob Mitchell were record shop owners getting hooked on that very stuff when they decided that they should start up a label devoted to the music that had them grooving. 10 years later, Warp records is bigger than it ever was, boasting not only a current who's-who of electronic artists (Autechre, Aphex Twin and Squarepusher to name a few), but a hugely impressive back catalogue (LFO, Nightmares On Wax, Sabres Of Paradise and tons more) as well. Like Matador Records across the Atlantic from them (who is now co-releasing tons of artists, as well as their 3, 2CD birthday celebration discs), it started out with a love of music and has grown into a cornerstone label in it's respective genres.

As the title of the disc suggests, this release is 2 CDs worth of the music that Beckett and Mitchell heard that inspired them to found Warp records. For the most part, it's serious old-school electronic music from the 80's. While you'd never guess it from hearing the majority of the labels current roster, most of the music that the two were inspired by was repetitive early acid house. Still, if you listen to it all close enough, their are little bits of it that have stayed with the scene for 10 years, and some that still seem before their time.

Things start off with the blipping, bleeping "Let's Get Brutal" by Nitro Deluxe and progress through several different kinds of styles, although they still have the same general feel. Steve Poindexter's "Computer Madness" is perhaps one of the most innovative tracks included, mixing a pulsing beat along with an almost algorithmic progression of cheesy tones. The first disc ends with the epic 12-minute long "Acid Tracks." It's a total barn-burner of a track that progresses as slow as a snail, but tweaks a wicked acid line that weasles it's way into your brain. It's basically Ritchie Hawtin as he would have sounded 10 years ago.

The second disc actually goes in a few more directions, but again keeps that same feel throughout. 808 State shows up with their almost tribal-influenced "Let Yourself Go" and legend A Guy Called Gerald is represented by "Voodoo Ray." K Alexi Shelby cranks up the BPM's higher than before with the burnin' "Medusa," and Farley Jackmaster Funk layers things on so heavily that the red EQ levels bleed out the top. The Ital Rockers lend their now heavily-sampled "Ital's Anthem" to the proceedings and Juno's "Soul Thunder" provides the slowed-down precursor to Speed Garage.

Basically, if you like the old school techno, you're not going to go wrong here. Unfortunately, the sound quality isn't very good on some of the tracks, but I imagine that's mainly due to their rarity and the difficulty even extracting them from their original sources. If you want to hear the stuff, it's definitely easier to just buy the spankin' new crispy Warp re-releases, rather than sifting through bins all over looking for worn copies of the stuff. Its nice for either re-living the early days or aquainting yourself with them in the first place. Also check out the coinciding releases, Warp 10+2 Classics and Warp 10+3 Remixes.

Rating: 7