Sweet Exorcist - Clonk Coming

The first proper LP release from Legendary Techno label Warp was to have a deep influence on the label's vision, whether for music and for sleeve design. It was the first release from the label to go beyond the club-oriented 12 inch format, and it was the occasion for The Designer Republic to show the label's intention to have Techno-House being a true game-changing musical culture.

Sweet Exorcist was Richard H. Kirk (Of Cabaret Voltaire fame) and Richard Barrat (aka DJ Parrot), both key activists of the Shieffield scene, where Warp had started as a record store. 
This album's first pressing was a single (tagged WAP 13) before becoming WARP LP 1.
WAP 1 - C.C.E.P. (back cover) 
WAP 1 CD - C.C.E.P. (cd label)
Of course, the name of the band was an hommage to Curtis Mayfield famous song
But the design of the LP itself was also a reference to the influencial psychedelic album of 13th Floor Elevators, designed by John Cleveland.
This design, famous among the music specialists and designers, had already been creating a great visual legacy, with the cover design Of Matt Johnson's album on 4AD in 1981, done by no one else than Neville Brody (with Andrew Johnson, brother of The The's leader, Matt).
This choice of such a key psychedelic reference was logical, as this album was the "fer de lance" of the trademark sound of Warp at that time, the Bleep Techno : this highly repetitive and hypnotic House music, with its minimalistic and basic electronic sounds, was clearly a renewal of the acid House style, more techno and abstract. It was the continuation, with new weapons, of the musical experiments in the field of acid music during the early 70'.

In fact, the adventure of Sweet Exorcist had begun one year ago, in January 1990, with the release of "Testone", a joint release of Outer rhythm and Warp.
Three "test" songs, three attempts at communicating with an new form of (musical) life, using a sample from "Close Encounters Of the Third Kind", three amazingly simple songs, so abstract and hypnotic compared to the average club sounds of the time...

Alongside with Greater Than One's "Tricky Disco" (another Arty/industrial band experimenting with Techno and House), this instantly put Warp on the map as a source of forward-thinking club music.
WAP 3 - Testone (12 inch)
The remix EP arrived few weeks later, with another generic cover, but the success of the first 12 inch was such that a video was produced for "Testone", which images where then used for picture cover repress for the remixes EP.
 

But it is with their next single, "Clonk" (WAP 9), that the "technodelic eye" design appeared first, in december 1990, followed within days by a remix EP, named "Per Clonk".
The picture sleeve of "Clonk" (WAP 9)
The semi-generic version of "Clonk" (WAP 9)

The semi-generic version of "Per Clonk" (WAP 9R)
Then came the C.C. EP, first as a single, then as a proper album. Even if it wasn't as rich and diverse as the forthcoming LFO album, this one was a bold statement for a small record store in Shieffield.

It linked the "young guys" label to the tradition of experimental electronic that Cabaret Voltaire pioneered in the 80', and the design, either for its quality (TDR) and for its reference to a classic album of the 70', was a clear indication of how serious these people were about making something more than just one more cool "Housey" record to enjoy an ecstasy pill with.

It said that they were educated, ambitious, and building a real label, with its codes and visual marks : the purple, the typography, the generic sleeve design, the recurrent label lay-out, the corporation-like logo, etc.

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