It's impossible to underplay the importance of 808 State. Arriving at a time when acid house was starting to infiltrate the hipper enclaves of UK clubland, the original trio of Graham Massey, Martin Price and Gerald Simpson took the hard sound of Chicago house and lashed it to industrial grooves and experimental music. Late-80s floor-fillers like Flow Coma and Pacific State were hugely influential on a new generation of techno-heads, chief among them Aphex Twin, Autechre and Orbital.
Indeed, it's Aphex Twin's 2001 remix of Flow Coma that kicks off this terrific retrospective. A star-stuffed one it is too, including collaborations with Brian Eno, Bj�rk, Simian, James Dean Bradfield, Guy Garvey and onetime ZTT labelmate, Trevor Horn. What's particularly fascinating is just how far ahead of the curve 808 State clearly were. Sharp-edged rave classics like C�bik and In Yer Face pre-date the whole superstar DJ/superclub boom of the 90s. But by the time The Chemical Brothers and Cream had become steady fixtures on the new dance scene, 808 State were already moving away from the kinetic thump of techno-funk and were investing the music with more tranquil, ambient tones. Theirs was music for both mind and feet, highlighted here by the luminous Bj�rk set-to, Qmart. And those still lamenting the demise of 90s yoof-TV Friday-nighter The Word (look, you never know) will be buoyed by the appearance of Olympic, its theme tune.
The latter is one of several exclusive (re)mixes on this set. Others given a fresh facelift are C�bik (Monkey Mafia), Plan 9 (Trevor Horn) and the "808 tape mix" of the wonderful Timebomb. The weird'n'glitchy stuff still sounds great (especially a revamped 606, with Simian) but Guy Garvey's turn on Lemonsoul proves they were always capable of delivering a swoonsome mood piece. Avid followers will be especially intrigued by two spanking new arrivals: Spanish Ice and Metaluna. The latter brings everything around full circle by smartly segueing into Compulsion, the closing track on 1988 debut LP Newbuild.
It's testament to 808 State's lasting excellence that there's no room here for Lift, Open Your Mind or Ooops. Nor is there space for hi-calibre guests like Ian McCulloch, Bernard Sumner or Lou Rhodes. "808 State will return," claim the liner notes. In the meantime this'll do very nicely.
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• The definitive ‘Best Of’ from one of the great British dance acts
• Covers over 20 years of cutting edge music from their first (late 80s) releases to date
• Includes the Top Ten singles Pacific State, In Yer Face and Cübik and nine previously unavailable recordings
• Rare remixes by Aphex Twin, Monkey Mafia and Brian Eno, plus vocal contributions from James Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers), Guy Garvey (Elbow) and Björk
• Digitally remastered by Fine Splice for the finest sound quality
• Deluxe digipack comes with full colour 20-page booklet containing detailed history of 808 State from comprehensive interviews with the group members
808 State are... ‘masters of their art’ (Q), ‘pioneers’ (Future Music), ‘for sonic trailblazing and inestimable influence, among our most important groups’ (Record Collector) and ‘Godfathers’ (Nude), who ‘sketched the blueprint for British techno as we know it’ (Mixmag).
Indisputably one of the most important UK acts of the late 80s and 90s dance music explosion, 808 State’s influence will reverberate in the genre for years to come. They were that particularly rare beast: an accomplished singles outfit that was also taken very seriously as an albums act.
Salvo takes great pride in presenting their “Greatest Bits”, from 1988 to the present day. The very best of the psychoecstatic, trance-inducing, groove-riding, techno-funkalogical sound of 808 State!