NOW PLAYING: Various Artists, ‘Artificial Intelligence’

The Artist/Album: Various Artists, Artificial Intelligence (Warp, 1992)

A Short Review: While it’s not quite as laid-back as the snoring robot on its sleeve would suggest–Richie Hawtin’s UP! alias, for one, turns his track into a high octane thriller–the first installment in Warp’s seminal Artificial Intelligence series is heady enough to warrant its place in the pantheon of “intelligent dance music.”

Or as the label’s co-founder, Steve Beckett, put it in a self-titled piece a few years ago, “When people were coming down from whatever they were on at parties, they’d play more relaxed or interesting music–people like Black Dog [Productions], B12 and Aphex Twin, who were making music that wasn’t just aimed at the dancefloor. We realized how incredible this music was and that it wouldn’t really work in the 12-inch format, so we started associating it with classic albums, like stuff by Kraftwerk or Pink Floyd. We thought, ‘If this music stands out to our ears [like Kraftwerk and Pink Floyd do to others], why don’t we just market it that way?'”


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