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Blueprint - The Best Of 808 State
Extra Tracks, Remastered
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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!
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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Spanning all seven albums and featuring highlights from each, Blueprint is much more than a lazy 'trawl the archives and copy it to CD' release. Tracks have been reworked exclusively for this CD, while others contain mixes never heard before, and just as euphoric as the original.
From early beginnings and acid tweaks with 'Flow Coma' and 'Firecracker', 808 then showcase what the dance community had been waiting for.
The original 'Pacific State' gets a rare outing, 'Cubik' gets a glorified makeover from Monkey Mafia, while the other top ten hit which 'made' 808, 'In Yer Face', is given a 2011 inyerfacelift. The reworked `Timebomb' is relentless from start to finish, never losing its momentum. `Cobra Bora' merges the old skool rave with the subtle sax tones of `Pacific' to create a monster punch, surely the track of the decade. While `Nimbus' punctures the emotions and senses with breathtaking beauty. Instrumental music can be emotional.
But 808 don't rest on their dance laurels. Blissful collaborative efforts, most notably with the Manics James Dean Bradfield on the sumptuous 'Lopez', and Elbows Guy Garvey on 'Lemonsoul', give 808 the kudos of a dance act with the ability and talent to be able to crossover to ever more genres.
Hypnotic and addictive, Blueprint is a feast of musical flavours. 'Spanish Ice' enduces visions of gliding between the planets and Saturns rings. While the genre defying 'Metaluna' is proof that 808 State can still create the musical 'blueprint' for the next generation of music makers to follow.
808 State: Blueprint, 808 State: Saluted
P.S If you are thinking of buying 808s previous albums based on this, then note that the original albums were remastered and re-released TWICE, once in 2008 then 2010. The track listings are the same, but the 2010 release contains additional background info. Look out for (audio 2010) after the title.
A lesser compilation would have ignored the pre-ZTT era 808 State and its former contributors Gerald Simpson and Martin Price, but both are present and correct on "Blueprint". And just for the hell of it, rather than use the original "Flow Coma" let's have the even rarer and wackier AFX remix. Some guys called Brian Eno, Trevor Horn and James Dean Bradfield also feature.
808 State are a group who understand house music. Absolutely no "dance" music snobbery here ("I was personally pretty sick of dance music..." says Graham Massey in the sleevenotes).
Graham Massey is a genius and Newbuild WAS a blueprint. "Blueprint" itself is a bit more of a mixed-bag - but as a fan of almost 23 years' standing this CD is still a worthwhile addition to my collection and, unusually for a rarities compilation, will (I suspect) be an ideal starting point for anyone new to 808 State.