05 September 2005
There are some, like myself, who have been suspecting for some time that Warp has lost it's way a bit in recent times, trying to diversify a little too much and maybe forgetting the core values that made it so special in the first place. True, Jackson is an encouraging new prospect, but how many of us still uphold total trust in everything that Warp releases? Does Warp still have a soul? One of the best releases this year isn't on Warp, but it should be. As it is, D1's debut solo release is out on the renowned post-garage label Soulja. It's magnificent and, whether intentional or not, recalls much of Warp's classic lineage - bringing in the sub-bass pressure of bleep & bass and the sweeping, evocative string melodies of Detroit techno that was such a big influence on Warp's Artificial Intelligence period in the early '90s, yet propelled by the urgent, economical riddims of dubstep. Tracks like "I Believe" and "Belong" have a depth of emotional intensity that doesn't need gimmicks or clever production tricks. It's music that's built to last. At least (thanks largely to Marcus' efforts) EPs like this are now available at Warpmart, an acknowledgement of sorts. Maybe they're just biding their time, waiting to see if this sound really starts to spread through the electronica community. But with other high-profile labels like Planet Mu and Rephlex already supporting dubstep, it seems to me that Warp are lagging behind a bit.