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Machines of loving grace: how Artificial Intelligence helped techno grow up | Musique Non Stop

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Machines of loving grace: how Artificial Intelligence helped techno grow up

Warp Records’ compilation Artificial Intelligence brought electronic music to the living room, but also unleashed a tidal wave of snobbery around ‘intelligent dance music’. Twenty-five years on, has it endured?

In the days of ever-changing playlists and unlimited Soundcloud mixes it might seem strange that something as simple as a compilation album could change the course of music. And yet that was what happened 25 years ago this month, in July 1992, with the release of Warp Records’ first Artificial Intelligence compilation. It was a record that helped to launch the careers of Autechre, Aphex Twin and Richie Hawtin, birthed the genre that would later become known as intelligent dance music (or IDM), and changed the idea of electronic music as merely a tool for dancing.

Artificial Intelligence wore its heart on its sleeve: the front cover features an android slumped in an armchair in front of a stereo, with albums from Kraftwerk and Pink Floyd scattered around. Below this, the tagline “electronic listening music from Warp” spelled out the compilation’s modus operandi: this was electronic music for the home, not the rave – a notion that was largely foreign 25 years ago.

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by Ben Cardew via Electronic music | The Guardian