Warp Records, the English electronic music/experimental rock powerhouse, turns 20 this year, and the label is marking the occasion in some big ways. Before the year is out, Warp will release both a retrospective box set and an interactive greatest-hits album, and they'll throw parties on three different continents.
For most of its history, Warp was known mainly as an IDM label, the place where Aphex Twin and Autechre and Plaid and LFO and Boards of Canada all cranked out their alternately jittery and placid beat symphonies. In recent years, the label has branched out into more instrument-based fare like Grizzly Bear and !!!. According to a Warp rep, one of the releases the label plans for its 20th anniversary is "a deluxe box set featuring previously unreleased archive material from some of the label's best-known artists." I'm really hoping the box runs chronologically, so we'll get, like, three discs of jackhammer drum-machines phasing between speaker channels before, I don't know, Max´mo Park shows up out of nowhere.
The label also plans to release a compilation album, with ten tracks chosen by fan voting (the rest will be picked by Warp founder co-founder Steve Beckett). At this website, you can vote for which songs will make the cut. As I'm writing this, the Boards of Canada track "Happy Cycling" tops the list. There's also a Vincent Gallo track in the top ten, something I have to imagine won't stand for too long. (I'm thisclose to launching a voting campaign for Aphex's "Avril 14th".) If you like, you can leave "personal messages and memories" about the songs you're picking, and they might make it into the album's packaging. ("Dude, I got so stoned jamming on 'Bucephalus Bouncing Ball', you don't even know.") Warp plans to release the album this fall.
The label is also planning big events in five cities around the world. Thus far, they've only announced details for one of them. In Paris, on May 8-9, a gang of Warp acts will perform at the Cite de la Musique. Thus far, the lineup looks like a monster: Aphex Twin & Hecker, !!!, Pivot, Andrew Weatherall, and DJ Mujava, with more acts to be announced. There will also be a homecoming party in Sheffield, England in August. And the label also plans "music, film, and art installation events" in New York (July), London (September), and Tokyo (November).