Boomkat Product Review:
Ooze up for a bit of early ‘90s nostalgia, then? Warp’s hugely influential Artificial Intelligence comp delivers it in spades with flashbacks to classic tackle by AFX, Æ, Speedy J, The Orb, Richie Hawtin and B12 in various guises
Surely on the shelf of every electronic fiend aged 35 or over, and ripe for first introductions to everyone younger, the 1st volume of Warp’s AI series is a cornerstone of contemporary dance, ambient and electronic music. In its lifetime it’s probably soundtracked more hazy afters than anyone can remember, toggling between now-classic cuts of leftside techno, breakbeat and electro experiments that have sunken deep into the popular consciousness perhaps more than any other from its era. It’s long been a gateway drug to myriad realms of electronica and related paradigms, to the extent that it’s maybe been maligned as a hackneyed classic due to its ubiquity (and possibly that dodgy artwork), but, at risk of sentimentality, it still stands as a life-changing set and hugely symptomatic of an enduring ‘90s new age positivity and charm that we’re still deeply fond of.
AFX squeezes the nostalgia nozzle first with his strident, euphoric opener ‘Polygon Window’ under his alias The Dice Man, and it’s all classic form there on in, spanning B12’s strutting bass ’n breaks as Musicology in ‘Telefon 529’, and the Detroit inspired ‘Preminition’, while Autechre pave the way for 1993’s ’Incunabula’ with the acid-electro graffiti of ‘Crystal’, and ‘The Egg’ still gets us right thurrr. Speedy J serves an ultra-classic with the bleeping breaks swang of ‘De-Orbit’ and more classically Euromantic feels in ‘Fill 3’. Not gonna lie, we’ve tended to skip (even FFWD on tape) Richie Hawtin’s passable acid techno turn as Up!, but Ken Downie’s floating breakbeat one-off as I.A.O. still gets under the skin, as does the blissed kiss-off by The Orb’s Dr. Alex Patterson.