Growing up in the mid-90s, i was always into dance. The big chart chart acts of the day (Faithless, Fatboy Slim, Chemicals etc) were cool to me, but something was always missing.... That changed one day in 1998 when, late at night, "Pacific 707" came on the radio. The epitome of warm, smooth chillout. Immedately seduced, i slung a tape into the deck and pressed 'record'. Discovering what it was, i bought this compilation, and the rest is history. The diverse and fascinating sounds of 808 state are squeezed beautifully into the 77 minutes on this album. On hearing the second track "Cubik" (a techno-rock slammer), i knew that the band were far more diverse that what my exposure to Pacific had led me to assume, though this is a good thing. Ahead of so many of their contemporaries, they could sound hard or soft, sweet or sour, dark or light, and do it all effortlessly. Several of the bands tracks (Pacific/Cubik/In Yer Face) featured on a couple of Old Skool compilations a few years back. Almost all the other tracks on these compilations were cheesy old-skool pieces by 1-hit wonders with no innovation (save Derrick May's "Strings Of Life"), and 808 state are too good to have been grouped in with such material, with their 15+ years of experience and string of classic, fascinating albums. Just worth mentioning. The combination of guest vocalists and classic instrumentals makes for a very entertaining listen which cannot be matched. Never did they sound out of date either. Their sound evolved as the years did, though strangely most people lost time for them after 1991. I think everything on here stands the test of time, just because it was so innovative and new on release. You can tell some of it is 15 years old, but it is such well-thought-out, serious music that you dont care. The first band to create "real" dance music that is still being drooled over today (by some!). Who else had FOUR top 10 singles by mid-1991? The KLF had 3, but they were a joke. 808 is the epitome of early british techno. The sleeve notes state that "the next 10 years (ie. 98-2008) will show you that the plan was and is no plan", implying that the album is merely an intermediate point of their career. Sadly, this hasnt really happened. Nowhere near enough has been seen of the band since this album, from a superfan's point of view. BUT even so, their best material is all covered here. No point in analysing every track, but its diverse, its deep, its interesting, and its an essential starting point to an essential band in electronic music. 5 stars.
If you would like to have an 'across the board' sample of the constructs of the 808's, then this (and the up-coming 'best-of') is the one to get. However, if you want one album to fully entertain you, then just buy 808:90. It IS 808 state at the only state of decency they had. True, there are another couple of tunes which were ok, like 'The only rhyme...' and 'In Yer Face', but you can buy them seperately if you really have to, as they don't stand the test of time well at all. I used to cycle 18 miles to :90 every day and it never bored or strained (apart from the batteries for my Walkman!). Although my poor Dog struggled to keep up sometimes......
808 State redifined dance music. Thats a pretty sweeping statement, but no escaping from the fact that it is also a true one. This collection rounds up all their singles and a few album classics in one tidy package. Unfortunately it only includes two new tracks and one new remix of their first single 'Pacific 707', there fore if you caught their classic albums first time round, then you probably won't need this. For the younger fan such as myself who missed out first time round this is the definitive combination. 808 states' sound is pure techno, but the other sounds they brought into the mix, crashing breakbeats and hip-hop like moments helped them to redfine what we call dance today. A worthy homage to Manchester's finest.
If you enjoyed such songs as "In yer face" and "Cubik" from the early 90's then this is a must buy. It contains all their best loved hits and i was surprised to find that "The only rhyme that bites" to be among them which featured MC Tunes. Unusal for them to make a rap tune i still think it rocks even today! I believe them to be one of the pioneers of electronic dance along with LFO and Kraftwerk. In my opinion, Out of the 17 tracks on the cd there are only two or three weak ones. Also bjork features on one of the tracks to which was originally on the EX:CEL Lp.