Warp

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Warp, commonly referred to as Warp Records, is a pioneering independent English record label, founded in Sheffield in 1989, notable for discovering some of the most enduring artists in electronic music.

Founded by Steve Beckett and the late Rob Mitchell from their experiences working at the FON record store, alongside producer Robert Gordon, The label (whose name was chosen because the original name, ‘Warped Records’ was difficult to distinguish over the telephone) soon became home to artists who would be highly influential in electronic music.

The first release (WAP1) was by Forgemasters (produced by Robert Gordon), whose limited 500 copy pressing of “Track With No Name” was financed by an Enterprise Allowance grant and distributed in a borrowed car. It set a trend for the early releases both in terms of sound and the use of purple sleeves (designed by The Designers Republic). The follow up was Nightmares on Wax’s “Dextrous”, which charted, selling 30,000 copies despite a lack of promotion. This led to greater commercial success; by its fifth release the label had its first top-twenty chart entry with LFO and their eponymous single, “LFO”, which sold 130,000 copies and peaked at #12 in the UK chart in July 1990; by coincidence, that same month another Warp act, Tricky Disco, reached #14 in the UK chart with another eponymous single, “Tricky Disco”.

The first album released was Sweet Exorcist’s C.C.E.P. in 1991. In the same year Robert Gordon left Warp acrimoniously.

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