808 State are such legends within the early EDM scene, and who made some awesome tunes for people to enjoy. Aside from the awesome Newbuild album which is an Acid House classic, they followed it up with legendary tunes such as Pacific State and Cübik which are truly awesome tracks. It should come as no surprise that this retrospective release after ten years after 808 State first appeared in the music scene. Let’s take the time to hear this retrospective, and hopefully, this should be a very enjoyable listen.
Pacific 707 begins this compilation as a remix of the original Pacific State. It sounds very sped up in pitch for the most part. It launches into the unforgettable saxophone melody, before going into a cut that isn’t as good as the original, to be frank. Despite that, this is very interesting and enjoyable. It has some additional and different melodies thrown into the mix. It’s difficult to think how this remix would be better than the original, and why for whatever reason that this is on this compilation instead of the original itself. Anyway, it’s a very good and decent listening experience, complete with bongos and Acid house-based melodies throughout. Still, it would have been much better for the original to have been here. It’s good but sounds just like a mediocre job compared to the original piece. Fortunately, it only runs under four minutes in length, and ends with those birds chirping, before fading out.
Cübik is a legendary cut, beginning with legendary and insane-sounding guitar work that sounds tripped out, before launching into a down-pitched Electronic and super cool piece, complete with some outstanding beats. This is a very interesting sounding tune that has a dark and urban feel to it, it sounds very, very good, however. A wonderful and awesome listen, with a variety of greatly structured and awesome textures, this is something that the Terminator would enjoy. There is definitely a retro science-fiction feel to this piece, and the wailing guitar re-emerges throughout. In the second half are some wacky percussion breaks that sound really excellent, and this tune is nothing but excellent. The outro is very robotic sounding and weird before a finale with backwards sounds concludes this piece.
Cobra Bora begins with some very nicely delivered percussion, before some keyboard choir harmonies and additional sounds enter. This is certainly different to most music out there. It quickly launches into a retro and very Acid House-sounding piece. No doubt that this track is dealing to dance and go crazy to, and it sounds very interesting and has that classic 808 State vibe and magic about it. This is a post Acid House sounding piece that just sounds really excellent and fits this compilation perfectly. Some nicely layered and repeated melodies exist throughout this tune, it just sounds dramatic and awesome. Towards the middle, this approaches science fiction territory again with some interesting and original sounds. A quick rapid-fire Acid heavy break occurs before the rest of this track continues on. Without question, this is an amazing and interesting listen, even to this day. In the second half is some stereo-panned high-frequency sounds, with some wah-wah style Disco sounds in the background. Some incredible intermission-type sounds are present here, but not overly distracted from this whole groove. Nonetheless, a real classic in its own right, and something that early EDM fans will definitely appreciate. It ends with the racing percussion and liquid sounds to the fade-out.
In Yer Face begins with some retro 1980s-style keyboard sounds, which sound awesome and amazing. Soon enough, a voiceover enters which is likely sampled from a documentary which is about the failure of USA-based Capitalist democracy. It then quickly launches into a very awesome and interesting EDM-styled tune that is different. For those of you who like a political narrative about the failure of Capitalism and great music, this is for you. This is the Acid House EDM equivalent of a machine gun, and it sounds very interesting from start to finish. There are some strange sounds in the second half before a great and excellent bunch of sonic textures take you to the next level of an awesome experience. A really great listen, towards the end is a synth string patch that resonates well with a couple of great samples, before fading out nicely. Good work.
The Only Rhyme That Bites – Extended Mix begins with an introduction with a vocal introduction along with Pacific 707 playing in the background, before getting stuck right into an awesome Rap piece featuring MC Tunes. Needless to say, this is really energetic, upbeat, awesome and fantastic. It shows that two artists can collaborate well together and create a lively piece of music. The breakdown has some Disco sounds and strings, before returning to the excellent tune at work. A really amazing listen, this does sound really fresh, interesting and awesome. A very good tune, this sounds amazing and although it does sound retro, this sort of tune paved the way for the future of music at the time of release. A really cool listen, this is top and amazing music. Although this is fairly minimal, the sounds present on this track are enough to hold one’s interest for some time. It ends with a female voice singing: “Just play the music and the walls will tumble down!”. Brilliant effort.
Olympic – Flutey Mix begins with some eerie movie-like string sections, which are very different and suspenseful. Some unusual percussion then enters, and this piece launches into an interesting melodic section, along with some cleverly placed percussion sounds and a spacey feel to the tune. This is again, very very good. Still, this doesn’t sound as good as some of the other pieces present on this compilation, but it is still enjoyable and listenable. It sounds quite ethereal and different. In the second half are some intricate and more spacey melodies that are really nicely done. Great to hear, and 808 State does a fine job of creating well-done EDM. Anyway, if you wish to close your eyes and listen to this, you will find it very beneficial. A beautiful tune, this sounds very pretty. It ends with some Indonesian-sounding percussion, very good.
Ooops features the legendary singer Björk and is one of the more well-known cuts from 808 State. From the start, it has some Spanish-style acoustic guitar, beautiful melodies and slow breakbeats. Björk sings very nicely and beautifully and does this track an excellent job well done. There is a bunch of excellent instrumentation, including some cool trumpet work. This is an emotional and lively listening experience, and it really sounds great. A cool and awesome listening experience, this just sounds really fine and great throughout. The melodramatics of Björk mixed in with the wonderful instrumentation by 808 State makes this tune a real winner. It may seem a little slow for some, but all the same, this is a superb and excellent musical piece to enjoy. A very good effort from start to finish, and although it isn’t typical music by 808 State, it works well. It ends fairly quickly.
Lift begins with some ambient-styled sounds, before launching into a Roland-heavy EDM piece. This also sounds very good, like many of the cuts here. Although again, this is fairly minimal, it is interesting. A sampled string melody section then emerges that is very beautifully melodic and fantastic and adds an atmospheric part to this tune. This is fairly retro stuff to listen to, but nonetheless, it sounds very consistent and refreshing. Towards the middle is some interesting EDM beats and textures that add to the tasty nature of this track. This is followed by electric guitars that feedback, before returning to the action. This is definitely a good listen, although the sounds here are very, very dated and this sounds like something out of the tail end of the 1980s. Despite that, an adventurous listen with some neat intermission-placed beats. This is followed by some gorgeous cyber melodies and the whole thing sounds like a groovy listen. A great musical soundtrack to a retro Rave night, this ends with feedback guitars. Nice job.
One In Ten – Edit is a joint effort with UB40. It begins with some nicely sweep-sounding percussion, with some extra beats mixed into this piece. Soon enough, UB40 begin singing and this piece gets going. This is a short, yet enjoyable piece that makes a good addition to this compilation. A very good listen, complete with gorgeous saxophone from the original tune. There is a breakdown in the middle which is nice to hear before this piece resumes back into the beats. A very good and decent-sounding tune which is interesting. Good to hear a bit of variety here. This tune ends with some percussion that sounds very tribal, before finishing quickly. Good work.
Plan 9 begins with some crisp-sounding acoustic guitars and synth strings. This eventually evolves into something that would perfectly suit the Ibiza Rave crowd. Some choppy breakbeats enter in the background which sounds good, and this lush piece of music gets underway. It is a very Psychedelic Electronic piece that sounds very different to most of the EDM out there to this day. Nonetheless, this is a very wonderful and tuneful listen. In the middle is a Breakbeat laden section that shows how nicely things can progress in these sorts of tracks. Some samples of tribal vocals are in the background here as well. Overall, this is a good and gentle piece to listen to when the mood strikes. Enjoyable easy listening, there are some strange and distorted sounds in the background at the end. Kind of weird to add these onto a track like this, but it’s fine. Nice effort.
10×10 begins with old-school EDM piano which is upbeat and catchy. It is a great melodic piece that has some female soul vocals enter, along with handclaps as well. An interesting listen from the start, the track has some good lyrics. Soon enough, it goes into a dark and heavy Breakbeat-led piece that sounds really cool and danceable. To be fair, this is an odd amalgamation of sounds and textures but it still works very well. There are some interesting twists and turns throughout that do sound really cool. A good piece, although maybe not a great one here. Regardless, this is an interesting listening experience throughout, with a huge variety of different breakbeats and percussion. This ends with dark spacey sounds, and a repeated vocal sample stating the track name. Cool.
Bombadin – Original Quica begins with some growling TB-303 sounds, some weird percussion and sounds mixed together. This quickly launches into a good piece of samba/salsa percussion-based EDM music that sounds really cool. It sounds really different and eclectic. To be fair, this isn’t the greatest compilation out there for 808 State or EDM but it does sound good for what it is. Anyway, this track is another darker-sounding piece that does the job very well, and in some respects is quite good, although it sounds extremely dated today. A good tune but nothing too special here. It does have some nicely sampled drums in the second half that sound very interesting, before going super minimal afterwards. A good piece of music, but nothing overly memorable present here. It builds up in intensity before the end, before returning to the sounds at the start to complete this track.
Bond is a piece that features Mike Doughty. It sounds horribly retro from the start, sounding way too 1980s for its own good. Nothing overly excellent or memorable at this point, which is pretty sad. It also points to the fact that the compilation is running out of steam by this point. The clanging bass guitar also makes this sound way too New Order-ish. The vocals here sound way too much like Underworld’s Moaner as well. It’s a very ordinary effort, and this lacks excitement and originality. It’s a drag to get through, which is pretty sad. The midsection is an improvement, with a change of tempo and structure present in this tune, before going back into the main section. It’s really difficult to enjoy this tune, it just doesn’t sound that good, to be honest. Anyway, you can skip this one if you wish, it’s difficult to enjoy. It also drags on at being over five minutes long. There is some harmonica that sounds like a 13th Floor Elevators sample in the outro, before the other elements fade out, followed by the harmonica playing away. Disappointing.
Azura features Lou Rhodes and is even longer than the previous track. It begins with ethereal string sections, timpani drums and a lot of atmospheric sounds to boot. It is then followed by some low-frequency bass sounds, which aren’t really needed here. Soon enough, this launches into a much better track section than the previous one with deep bass, breakbeats and some great singing by Lou Rhodes. It’s an improvement, but yet again, this music is seriously dated. In any case, this is alright, but it still seems lacking in some ways. An okay tune, but a very dated one at that. The singing section is very great, but the rest of the tune is not. Anyway, a good effort that could have been rethought somewhat. It does sound varied, at least, but just because a track is varied, doesn’t mean it always sounds good. The tune stops the beats towards the end, leaving just the atmospheric sounds and timpani drums before Lou Rhodes sings again to conclude this piece. It’s barely passable and makes one wish to hit stop at this point.
Lopez is another dual effort, this time with James Dean Bradfield. It has some slide guitar and other dark, murky atmospheric sounds to begin with. Soon enough, realistic-sounding breakbeats enter and the guest gets singing away. This is a bit of a confusing piece to listen to, and that is the feeling on this compilation as we approach the end of it. James Dean Bradfield sings a lot like Bono from U2, and although the guitars are a nice touch, again this doesn’t sound 100% good. A good idea regardless for a musical collaboration. In the second half is a brief section of distorted and metallic-sounding drumbeats, before the guest gets singing again. A melancholy and rather dreary tune here, it doesn’t sound well structured at all. It could have been bettered somehow in retrospect.
Crash is a track recorded specifically for this compilation. It begins with stereo-panned atmospheric sounds, some subsonic bass parts and some other interesting sounds. This is a piece that doesn’t sound as dated as all the others on the second half of the album, it just works out well sonically. The combination of cut-up beats, dark melodies and other sounds and samples is really decent. Soon enough, it launches into an eclectic and different tune that is rooted in the history of 808 State but is something quite different on its own. An interesting tune nonetheless, it does the job well. There are some classic sounds as well as some newer sounds present on this tune, and points ahead to 808 State’s future as a group at this point. An interesting listen that is okay, it breathes life into this part of the compilation. The outro is very good as well. It ends with some odd science-fiction-styled sounds, before concluding. Good work.
Pacific 808:98 is the last track on this compilation and is another remix of Pacific State. It begins with some retro late 1980s sounds that are different, before launching into a Breakbeat heavy piece that sounds extremely energetic. It goes straight into a strange version of the original tune with pounding breakbeats to match. A good effort, although one cannot help but feel that it would have been a far better idea to add the original Pacific State to this compilation rather than two separate remixes of the original song. There is an Acid House sounding breakdown that is terrific before this track continues along. In any case, this is a nice way to finish off a good first 10 years by 808 State. The track present is fairly repetitive but is a good addition nonetheless. Various breakdowns occur throughout, with a great deal of focus on the intense breakbeats present in this tune. Towards the end is some great additional sounds and textures thrown in for full effect. Different to hear, but still quintessential 808 State, this ends with some more unusual sounds, before gently fading out. Nice work.
This compilation is a bit of a mixed bag for music’s sake. There are some great additions, good additions and some not-so-good additions to this rather lengthy listen, which goes well over an hour long. Having said that, these tracks are enjoyable but if you really want to hear some decent 808 State, you should begin with the debut album Newbuild, the original Pacific State tune or the ESP: The 808 State Effect compilation released in 2021. However, this is decent for what it is. EDM fans will appreciate it, but others probably may not.