There is something so right about 808 State making a long-overdue return in 2019. Due to the work of revivalists like Special Request, the acid, hardcore, ambient house and proto-junglist sonics that are synonymous with the group’s late-80s/early-90s heyday are back in vogue once again. As such, it feels fitting that a group who remain so influential in the sound of British club music should make their presence felt once more.
That said, 808 State deserve credit for not simply sticking to their guns here. While many acts reform to simply warm up the sounds of their heyday, Transmission Suite is a record which builds on the group’s previous output in an intriguing manner. Anchored by a plethora of rhythms made by the TR-808 drum machine from which 808 State take their name, Transmission Suite moves across a wide array of leftfield electronic sounds.
The weirdo-beat of acts like Modeselektor and Mouse On Mars is what springs to mind most readily when listening to many of the tracks here. Other cuts touch on more recent trends - juke and neo-IDM, for instance - while maintaining a distinctly experimental bent. Even the likes of ‘Skylon’ and ‘Ujala’, tracks which hark back to the harmonic richness of 808 State’s golden age, forge something new from old wares. We’re not in The Hacienda anymore, Toto - and given how this means that 808 State are making music more fresh and experimental than many of the young pretenders, this can only be a good thing.
A full seventeen years on from their previous LP and three decades after ‘Pacific State’ made them famous, 808 State get back to business on their new album Transmission Suite.