Blueprint. What to include, what to exclude? Upon reading the track listing many would question as to why certain tracks made the cut and others omitted, but upon listening it becomes clear that as a history of electro and of 808 State, every track belongs.
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.
This is the first ever document of all eras of 808 State: from the seminally influential acid house releases on their own Creed label, to latterday collaborations with Guy Garvey and James Dean Bradfield. From their days as Haçienda DJs to headling the Manchester G-Mex, and touring the world with 'stadium rave'(at one point with an unknown Moby as support act). Blueprint features the band's top 10 singles (including Pacific, Cübik, and In Yer Face), and their groundbreaking collaborations with Björk (1991's Qmart), Simian (2002's 606) and Brian Eno (1996's Lopez, with lyrics by Nicky Wire). The whole thing kicks off with Aphex Twin's legendary remix of Flow Coma, one of the first ever 808 State tracks, which was released on Richard D. James' own Rephlex label as a 12" promo vinyl in the early 00s. Other remixes - all exclusive to this set - come from Trevor Horn, Jon Carter/Monkey Mafia and the mysterious 808 Tape. Blueprint puts 808 State back on the map. Paul Hartnoll from Orbital writes the foreword to the CD's extensive booklet, which also features contributions from The Prodigy, Doughty, Moby, Simian and Future Sound of London. There's also an extensive archive interview with 808 State -- Graham Massey (Factory Records/Biting Tongues, Sisters of Transistors), Darren Partington and Andrew Barker -- by Paul Morley. Electronic instrument pioneers Roland have also pulled the original blueprints for the legendary TR-808 drum machine(from which the band took their name) out of their archives for the front cover and deluxe 'mini vinyl' packaging. Two brand new tracks close out the set: Spanish Ice and Metaluna, which segues back into one of the band's first acid house hits, Compulsion, bringing the whole story full circle. A brace of tracks have been completely re-recorded, revisited and updated by the band themselves, and they have even included the production mix of Olympic a/k/a the theme for The Word.
This is 808 State, back to the future, across the 80s, 90s, 00s and 10s.
After 21 years in the business 808 State release their second 'greatest bits' compilation, the first 808:88:98 being more of a single driven effort whilst this CD takes in some more obscure album tracks as well as singles appearing in different formats.
Foreword by Paul Hartnoll, the sleeve notes include some kind words by Luminaries such as Liam Howlett and Moby proving that 808 State were indeed a pioneering act and that their peers hold them in highest regard.
Some tracks are included in their original form, The sax-laden bird tweets of 'Pacific', and the otherworldly instrumental 'Nephatiti' are both supreme slices of dance. Whilst vocally, We find Guy Garvey in form on the blissful 'Lemonsoul' and Bjork duly appears lending her distinctive warble to 'Qmart'.
Others are given a facelift for 2011, 'In Yer Face' is dragged into the present and sounds fantastic, 'Cobra Bora' is bleeped up to the nines, turbo-rave monster 'Timebomb' is relentless, and '606' featuring Simian, from the heavily underrated 'Outpost Transmission' sounds so good it could easily have graced the charts had it been released.
Remixes (revisits) are also featured, Aphex Twin gets his hands on early track 'Flow Coma' producing some evil, chopped up acid meatiness, Monkey Mafia get the beats out and give 'Cubik' a big dirty groove, Brian Eno works his ethereal magic on the delicious 'Lopez' and 'Plan 9', 'Nimbus' and 'Olympic' appear in alternate versions of the originals.
New track 'Spanish Ice' is a glorious sweeping cinematic track proving that despite being old heads 808 can still bring something new to the plate, whilst one of their most recent efforts 'Metaluna' is mashed with one of their first 'Compulsion' to great effect causing a squidgy, banger of a number.
I have been priviliged to be an 808 State fan over the last 2 decades, 'Blueprint' not only does the band justice by showcasing their considerable talent but hopefully brings them to a new audience who deserve to hear the guys that had such a massive influence on British dance music. The sleeve notes tell us '808 State will return' I hope this is true because that will mean that the wonderful ride I have been on for the last 21 years is not quite over just yet.
Not a "Best Of" as such, since this disc contains mainly rarities and previously unreleased versions, but nevertheless a lot of the selections on this album will be familiar to many: the theme tune of "The Word" and the original version of "Pacific State" (if not the original title). And also, lest anyone forget, 808 State were the band that INVENTED hardcore techno - see "Cobra Bora", "Cubik" and "In Yer Face".
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.
A reminder of the Manchester dance music pioneers' elasticity, from ambient exotica of "Pacific State" and brutal techno of "Timebomb" to collaborations with Björk and Elbow's Guy Garvey. Several first-rate remixes, including Aphex Twin's pulverising version of "Flow Coma" and Monkey Mafia's look back at chunky acid house of "Cübik". Great album by a great band and a must have for any true 808 State fan.
Whether you are a seasoned 808 State fan or a newbie who is wondering what all the fuss is about, this is the album for you.
Covering 808 State's musical journey from 1988's "Newbuild" to 2002's "Outpost Transmission", this album provides a complete overview of 808 State's work for you to discover. Starting with the acid bleeps of "Flow Coma" through the stadium rave of "In Yer Face" to the genre-defying "606", this album shows precisely how innovative 808 State are.
For 808 State fans, they have provided lots of goodies in the way of revisited versions of their old-skool classics - "In Yer Face" and "Cobra Bora" are particularly good. Note that these are not just remixes - the tracks have been completely revisited.
They have also provided extra tracks that have never appeared on their previous albums.
If you're hungry for more, there is a 21st Anniversary version of Cübik available on their web site along with loads of other unreleased tracks.
17 tracks and over 20 years of innovation for less than £6? Sounds like a bargain to me.