Craig Brogan – Reviews 28th June
Artist – 808 State – Title – Gorgeous (Expanded)
Oh yes! review day just keeps getting better and better! today ladies and gentlemen we have an absolute legend of an album to review. Please welcome the very well known 808 State.
808 state – founded in 1987 in Manchester, their name was taken from the legendary Roland 808. In 1990, 808 State composed the theme tune for the Channel 4 programme The Word. The band also recorded an acid house version of New Order’s “Blue Monday” which after being asked to dig through some old material was released in 2004 by Rephlex Records. The simplicity behind the track has been recognised as its charm.
The band’s song “Pacific State” was released as a single, peaking at number 10 in the UK Singles Chart. One other album that was released in 1991, Ex:el, featured the vocals of Bernard Sumner and Björk. The songs included “In Yer Face” (UK #9), “Cubik” (UK #10) and “Lift” (UK #38).
The band are very well known for various releases and performances worldwide and have never left us over all this time. More info and a full discography can be found using the following link:
I certainly cannot wait to dive into this new release and it would be a great time to point out that this release comes with some flash to it with being released on 2 Purple Vinyls.
In no particular order, I will take us all through this work of art.
808 State – 10×10 feat.Rache lMacFarlane & Barrington Stuart
Piano chords and melody kick things off which I must say are beautifully composed and arranged. Clean and punchy sounds take control and then the amazing vocals from Rachel Macfarlane & Barrington Stuart bring an outstanding funky atmosphere right before being introduced to guitar heaven!
Which comes with an awesome VOX EDIT for those of you wanting a little extra from the Original.
808 State – Black Morpheus
Jazzy with a lot of swing. Saxaphones panning around whilst a really dark atmosphere is set with the bassline. Percussion rolls around adding to things whilst that awesome saxaphone does the damage! an 80’s styled vibe going on within this track and performed really well! Synths are warm and I just simply love this track for the creativity alone!
808 State – Bombadin – UnreleasedEdit
Tribal yet tropical bliss. Vocals are empowering and sit perfectly well, the bassline adds a lot of groove and things start to really swing along nicely. Synths enter the mix along with quirky FX. Brilliant toms come drumming through supported with sparkly hat hits and claps. I’m really loving the work produced here, those vocals are amazing!
808 State – Colony
Ok now we are going a little further back with the sounds used here. An early 90s set of synths stabs are introduced but also with a late 80’s soft synth taking charge of the breaks. 80’s being the more dominant year of sound here but the fusion going on between the 80’s & 90’s is simply beautiful.
808 State – Contrique
Late 80’s early 90’s theme take us through the intro. Things become more modernised but keeping the earlier years style in mind. Great vocals and phatt sounding basslines. Breakbeat styled drums and percussion guide us through the track. Awesome spread bell sounds tone things to a close.
808 State – Europa feat. Caroline Seaman
Man, I am simply loving this release! if anyone could bring the sound of the 80’s forward to a modern age you can bet your life it’s gonna be these guys. Vocals heard within this track are beautiful and for the lack of a better word ”Gorgeous” A more steady paced blissful track smothered in amazingly produced vocals and high synth notes. Sparkly and atmospheric.
808 State – Freak (AstrobahnMix)
With an almost industrial nature, this track rocks its way forward with vocal shots and driving basslines in true 808 State form. Sounds are spaced really well. Distortion styled acid sounds are awesome! Sounds pour in from all angles and in no way are too busy. Everything sits perfectly. Great workflow and creativity.
808 State – Ice cream on ElmStreet SexSynth
Acid! oh yeah! A warm sounding acid arp rolls forward. Melody’s take place throughout in the from of a crystal styled sound. Vocals arrive and add variety to things as drums start to punch into sight. Creativity is top notch!
808 State – Insane Lover (AnalogueMix)
As the name suggests within this mix, analogue sounds start off straight away. Things become very progressive and acid arps roll around the background whilst basslines freely take control of the drive. Vocal shots guide us forward where we are introduced to some awesome lead guitar styled synths. Everything about this track screams analogue. A very well produced track.
808 State – LaLuz (AcidMix)
Bright hitting cymbals and hats coupled with a punchy kick drum. Acid, as you would expect from the name, takes place and things become sinister. Progressive and clean. Mid 90’s synths make an appearance and the melodies are perfectly matched to the arrangement of sounds.
808 State – Lemon (Oberheim4Mix)
Phatt strong and punchy. Analogue kick drum with very warm and very well EQ’d basses. Acid sounds enter the mix midway and pan around to enhance the listener’s experience in pure 3D. Acid arp is of a more traditional nature. Toms, drums and hats. Perfect 🙂
808 State – Marathon (Original2FourPubMix)
Rhythm is the signature of this track as an overall in my own opinion, which in any case is perfect! a little more drive to this track and sounds are very modernised and performed brilliantly well. You can almost visualise the drummer going to town in front of you with this track! simply awesome drum work! I love this track!
808 State – Mondonet
Wow! things start off very ambient. Asia in mind here. Warm bassline. Drums and percs enter and increase intensity. The kick drum enters to add direction. Strings and percussion are amazing. Some resonator work is added to add uplifting character and lush strings add to the background. A very Techno natured track. Toms are blissful. This track could be extended and adds awesome atmosphere to any set.
808 State – Moses feat IanMcCulloch
Back to those 80’s drum sets. Very warm and clean sounds. Vocals kick in with a strong presence and by jolly things get even more 80’s themed, the vocal work is of an almost Coldplay nature and performed amazingly! an almost Duran Duran styled arrangement going on. Bassline arps and strings. I didn’t want this track to finish. I guess I should play it again 🙂
808 State – Nbambi (MarchHareMix)
A quirky set of sounds at hand. A sense of ‘welcome to wonderland’. Creative arrangement of sounds with 80’s in mind again. String work is superb. The rabbit hole takes us on a journey throughout as synth stabs and a change in groove shifts us to the city of the lost souls. A spiral of creative sounds at work right here! this is so unique! Love it.
808 State – Nimbus
Arp heaven! melodies simply pour across the spectrum here, beautifully composed. Sharp hitting almost harsh snares bring this track to life. But the real magic comes from those upper octave set of sounds on the melody. One thing that has to be said about 808 State work is that you should always be prepared for the unexpected as mid way things once again shift to a more dark driven nature before settling back to those creatively produced set of melodies.
808 State One InTen feat.UB40
Oh yes!! Tropical and stylish. Acid loops, synth stabs from the 80’s. Saxophone phrases and Old Skool styled drums. Lively FX and great movement. Vocals provided from the legendary UB40 are simply outstanding. What more does an 808 State track require? Press play again and again and again!!! amazing!
808 State – Orbit
Uplifting sparkly and clean. Acid lurks in the background whilst synth chord work takes control of the main floor. Things are nice and wide and offer a lot as far as indulgence in sound goes. Toms and drums as always add a little drive. Another creative track from these lads!
808 State – Plan9
A very Latin guitar introduction accompanied by soft strings. The mood has already been set and the kick drum and drum loops set the bar for what continues to prove a very well orchestrated track. As we are introduced to the twist on the break you can expect things to become quirky and detuned sounding in a very clever way. The rear end of the track offers those dark synth stabs and acid styled arps.
808 State – Plan9 (MemoryMoogMix)
As the original melodies take us through the intro we have added FX adding ambience. Keeping to that 80’s style of sound as the original. A little more reverb is in place in this mix. Analogue and proud.
808 State – Reaper Repo (12 Mix)
Awesome placement of sounds panning and engaging. Techno styled drum loops enter and introduce progressive synth work. Vocal shots only add to what has now become a very tribal track. Things die down and introduce a perc/drum solo that rises back into the original state, the 808 State.
808 State – Sexy Dancer
100% 80’s style pop infused beats and vocals. The atmosphere is increased with the careful use of synth styled vocal lines that have creative strong drums with added ping pong styled echo delays as support. Sound placement is spot on and the lead sounds keep things intact.
808 State – Sexy Synthesiser
Sexy indeed. Strong rhythm. Drum work hits home solid! panning on those almost exorcist styled notes are brilliant almost in the style of Mike Oldfield (Michael Gordon Oldfield is the full name for those who are unaware) What a great track very moving and keeps up the tempo.
808 State – SouthernCross
A sense of harmony and peace introduces this track. Very warm and strong bassline. Percussion is very Asian. Almost choir styled vocal synth keeps things bright on the sides. A quite Balearic style of sound going on. The sense of peace sustains throughout the entire track. Rather magical.
808 State – StorminNorman
Techno strong kick drums 808 of course. String hits of melody accompanied with spread perhaps stereo imaged drums. Sparkly high octave melody work. The dramatic atmosphere with 80’s vocal shots. The break introduces a very sinister set of string work which lands us safe back onto the original set of sounds. Great bass work.
808 State – The Jackson Fraction (JacoTacoMix)
Great use of resonators on these sounds. Drum work is superb. The track offers a storytelling little adventure as we progress. Soft synths and vocal shots keep things interesting. A lot of movement and direction. Percussion simply keeps this track alive!
808 State – Timebomb
Timebomb indeed! The sense of you better get moving takes place and only increases throughout. The breaks on this add warm basses which are spread and coupled with breakbeat styled drums. Robotic vocal shots and 80’s styled synths. By the time those basses hit they are so well spread the atmosphere is really engaging! uptempo fast and direct form of sound.
808 State – Timebomb (OldhamMix)
A little variation to the original, extending on what has been already created with the added energy of the artist’s style. Things seem a little more furious and moving on this mix. More energy pours through and to put things into perspective an absolutely perfect adaption to the original!
Unbelievable! there is simply just too many amazing tracks on this release, I could have spent at least another week going over these tracks, they offer so much in the form of style and creativity! who doesn’t love 808 State? It really was an honour to have taken part on this release by means of reviewing this album. By the time you get to the final track you really do feel like you have been on a journey and sadly it comes to an end. And on that note, so does this review.
I really hope you enjoyed this review and of course the entire release itself. There is so much to learn from these guys and I really do encourage you all to purchase this amazing release!
Stay safe 🙂
Craig Brogan Rating 10/10