808 State. Jazz. Electro.
Techno. Rock. Ambient. House. Funk. Hip Hop. Classic. Musak. Acid.
Hard to Classify
808 State inhabits a world
of their own devising. Acknowledging the vitality of musical diversity and fueled
by end of millenium culture they define a genre trampling fancifulness which can
at times be confusing and at others very clear.
Leading the way to the
Ambient House movement with Pacific 202, lush strings, funk basslines, birds and
sax all in one dance worthy package, 808 have always been innovative. Consider
the Belgianesque upstairs downstairs rave riff of Cubik, an instant classic. Back
it with the elevator musak noises of Lift and add a twisty elfin pop diva like
One might refer to Pacific
as pure Ambient House. One might then refer to Azura as emotive Drum and Bass
exploration. Then again, Bombadin seems to cut a little niche of its own and seems
to have little to do with either.
Whether liked or not, the
music is always State stamped and approved and criss crosses genre without accountability
to any form of narrow music pedantry.
We are the Music Makers...
808 State were one of the
first so called "techno" bands to perform live admirably, with the equipment and
with enough attitude to come back. At a time when the popularity of electronic
music was still uncertain and the mass gave it short attention time, 808 managed
to play it live and twiddle knobs successfully in the Mancunian sun (such as it
...and We are the Dreamers
One sunny Adelaide day
my friend Sinisha arrived on my doorstep carrying a load of finely kept 12"
dance vinyls culled from Central Station Records. Actually I always felt that
he was a little obsessed with them as items indicating fashion status.
Among those records was
Pacific, black vinyl clad in a sleeve of yellow, front depicting a rather large
tubular wave. It was 1990 and I was in my first year of University so a little
distraction was quite welcome!
Greetings aside we sojourned
to the rumpus room out back. Spread upon the gaudy orange carpet eyeing his
possessions eagerly and with that cheeky glint of eye I will always remember
him for, he said,
"I want to play this
really great new track to you... just got it...". And with those words he smoothed
gently out the vinyl and placed it carefully on the old dusty record player
my father used to own. I was hooked and amazed as soon as I heard the first
bar of ambience...
We just sat there listening,
listening to 808 State's first big track. Then we listened to the next mix,
Pacific 303, then a flip to Pacific State Origin and Cobra Bora Shortcut. I
was blown by the strings, wistful, inspiring, sentimental and energetic as they
were, backed by beats, bass and those odd little bird noises.
to see some typical 808 heads
You are listening to a MIDI version
of 'Lift' by 808state
When you hear a sound
you love, you know it. It conjures memory and emotion. Combines feelings that
normally seem disparate. Represents the most intimate parts of your being and
invokes tears. The Pacific string sequence became my musical philosophy, my
raison d'etre, my new objective in record stores. On that orange floor I experienced
catharsis through four strings and an old needle. I only speak to those who
understand. You know who you are.