808 State are an electronic music group from Manchester, England, formed in 1988. Their eclectic amalgam of techno, house music, ambient and acid house sounds has earned them a devoted following, as they continue to be a major influence on dance music culture around the world.
The story of 808 State begins in 1988, when Martin Price, an A&R man working at Manchester's legendary Factory Records, joined forces with Andrew Barker and Darren Partington, two friends who had grown up together in the city's Northern Quarter. The three shared a passion for early Chicago and Detroit electronic music and sought to create their own machine-driven music in that style.
With their unique sound and vivid, colorful visuals (courtesy of their beloved S900 sampler), 808 State quickly found acclaim in the fast-growing scene, and their self-released debut single, "Pacific," made the BBC Radio One playlist. With their success in the underground world, Price secured a distribution deal with one of the most influential labels of the timeâ€”ZTT. On ZTT, 808 State released their debut album, Ninety, to critical and commercial success.
The Ninety album marked the start of a prolific thirteen-year output, with records like Gorgeous (1991) and Don Solaris (1996) progressing in sound from their early acid house roots. The follow-up albums also took the listener in new directions, experimenting with jazz, hip-hop and classical music influences and taking their state-of-the-art production to new peaks.
The syncopated build-up of their sample-heavy arrangements resulted in consistently exciting records. Among the highlights are See the Light (1999), which featured the classic single "Cubik" and was the final record featuring the original line-up, and Outpost Transmission (2003), a homage to Los Angeles hip-hop which featured rap legend MC Ren.
Following their time on ZTT, the group took an extended break while their members pursued solo projects and remixing. Then, in 2011, 808 State reunited. They released a new single, "808GN," and embarked on international tours which brought them back to the stage.
Since then, their reputation has only grown. Recently, their timeless attitude to the electronic genre has seen them sampling a multitude of newly arising instruments and genres, resulting in releases like 2014's Transmission Suite, as well as more traditional yet evolving releases like Further Adventures in 2012.
The success of 808 Statã€‚e has left an indelible mark on electronic music in the 21st century, a classification far from genre-bounded, and spanning almost every contemporary genre in some shape or form. Onward though, their continuing full-steam pursuit of new sonic territories, reminds us that true adventure has no boundaries.