808 State Album Review: Transmission Suite 808 State: Transmission Suite
Album Review
 
808 State Album Review: Transmission Suite London In Stereo
10th October 2019
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808 State – Transmission Suite // Album Review

Self-Release – October 11th

808 State Review: Transmission Suite
Seventeen years after their last release, I guess 808 State have been slowly digesting the enormous buffet that’s been their career and now the acid reflux is forcing its way up. Full of sci-fi waltzes and intricate samples layered beneath tongue-in-cheek hooks and hefty basslines, Transmission Suite is understated, disjointed and masterful. It’s only halfway through lead single, ‘Tokyo Tokyo’, when the beloved TB-303 finally shows its face, that you remember just how fucking cool acid house is. Recorded in the now-abandoned Granada Studios, where they first performed on television in 1989, you can really hear the clunks and whirrs of all that obsolete machinery, underpinned with the welcome return of the acid break.

[Reviewer: Madeline Wrench]

 
808 State Album Review: Transmission Suite Exclaim
8th October 2019
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808 State Transmission Suite

7/10

808 State Review: Transmission Suite
In the late '80s and early '90s, 808 State helped pioneer British electronica with a trio of LPs, influencing pioneering artists like Aphex Twin and Björk along the way. Unfortunately, their three subsequent releases saw the Manchester quartet gradually losing the plot, relying too much of guest vocalists while trying to keep up with their big beat peers.

After self-releasing a pair of EPs earlier this year, 808 State seem revitalized, releasing their first full-length in 17 years, Transmission Suite. Returning to their instrumental acid house roots, the pared-down lineup (now just featuring Graham Massey and Andrew Barker) have put together a sprawling 15-track throwback that focuses heavily on the band's use of bended synth lines, disjointed rhythms and urban beats - best demonstrated by standout tracks like the polyrhythmic "Cannonball Waltz," the dramatic/thematic "Trinity" and the perfectly layered "Carbonade."

Although there may be a few too many half-baked ideas thrown around, as tracks like the hollow "Ujala" and the clunky "Bushy Bushy" demonstrate, 808 State nonetheless come off focused, confident and delightfully wistful on Transmission Suite. (Independent)

[Reviewer: Daniel Sylvester]

 
808 State Album Review: Transmission Suite The Arts Desk
5th October 2019
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CD: 808 State - Transmission Suite
First album in 17 years from Mancunian electronic innovators is an engaging retro-futurist ear-journey

808 State Review: Transmission Suite

Prior to the UK dance music explosion of summer 1988, house and techno were American micro-scenes, geographically restricted to Chicago, Detroit and New York. Small coteries showed interest in the UK, but few thought of making the stuff. Mancunian producers 808 State, however, were early adopters, recording an album that year and later charting with iconic 1989 hit “Pacific State”, a futuristic, Balearic instrumental. 30 years on, their seventh album is both forward-looking and a tribute to old analogue technologies.

808 State, once a four-piece, is now the duo of long-term members Graham Massey and DJ-producer Andrew Barker. Transmission Suite is named for the deserted, long-unused studios of defunct broadcasting giant Granada TV, where they recorded it. The experience has flavoured it. 808 State always drew sonic parallels between the techno music of Detroit’s urban desolation and that of Manchester’s, and the best of this album captures the same sense of post-industrial emptiness and unease. Opener “Tokyo Tokyo” is a case in point, an acid roller built around farty machine noises, but it’s at the end of the album they really push the boat out. A quintet of abstruse pieces reside there, brilliantly offbeat and brain-mangling, such as the tweaked out “Pulcenta” which sounds like children’s electronic toys in terminal meltdown. These tunes give Britain’s chief doyen of abstract electronica (and 808 State fan) Aphex Twin a run for his money.

Elsewhere are other sounds, stark techno and electro based on the Detroit blueprint; the Nineties ravey “Trinity”; a belting dancefloor work-out called “Ujala” that comes on like a tribal ceremony for robots. What’s strangely compelling is that, despite 808 State’s production no longer sounding futuristic in the way that, say, an artist like Tony Njoku's does, their work intimates an alternate version of the future based on a very specific version of the past. In doing so, the best of it wanders confidently around a dystopian cityscape that is all its own.

[Reviewer: Thomas H Green]

 
808 State Album Review: Transmission Suite Mixmag
Issue 341
October 2019
Page: 102
 

808 State
Transmission Suite SELF-RELEASED

8/10

808 State Review: Transmission Suite

In 1988, 808 State became Britain's first real acid house artists (along with former member A Guy Called Gerald), distilling influence from Detroit and Chicago together with the exploding vibe of their local Madcunian rove scene. Now Graham Massey and Andrew Barker - the remaining members - return after 17 years away, drawing predominantly from dingy, acidic electro while sounding as accomplished as anyone else around. They've shed some previous trademarks (tropical birdsong, collaborations with wanky indie singers), but still sound themselves, most thrillingly on the druggy metropolis funk of 'Huronic' and the positively forty 'Bushy Bushy'.

File under Acieed forever
Stream 'Skylon', 'The Ludwig Question', 'Huronic'
Like this? Try Lary D 'Strange Days' (Numbers)

[Reviewer: Sam Davies]

 
808 State Album Review: Transmission Suite Classic Pop
Issue 57
October 2019
Page: 83
 

808 STATE
TRANSMISSION SUITE
808 STATE / INGROOVES

***

808 State Review: Transmission Suite

Unlike their last albums, you won't find any notable guest vocalists on 808 State's seventh: no Björks, Guy Garveys or James Dean Bradfields. This time, therefore, it's entirely down to Graham Massey and Andrew Barker to prove that they, if not MC Tunes, can still split the atom.

To be fair, it's 17 years since Outpost Transmission, and there's not a lot on this hour-long, 15-track comeback that would have been likely to lure big names. This, though, is because its intricate electronica is frequently bewildering. In fact, it's regularly, seriously wonky.

In other words, the duo appears to have elected to indulge their extremist tendencies at the expense of accessibility. The Ludwig Question's scattergun percussion displays a twitchy restlessness, Cannonball Waltz is full of acid flashbacks, and while Skylon's simple cycle of stabbing chords recalls the classic Pacific State enough to suggest the ecstasy barely wore off, it's nowhere near as enticingly exotic. Still, if Carbonade's atmospheric techno throwbacks are somehow unrewarding, 13 13 is bafflingly suggestive of Lemon Jelly but ultimately more like Aphex Twin at his most confrontational, while loyal fans - and those open to adventure - will be instantly won over by urgent opener Tokyo Tokyo.

[Reviewer: Wyndham Wallace (WW)]

 
808 State Album Review: Transmission Suite DJ Magazine
Issue 597
September 2019
Page: 191
 

808 State
Transmission Suite
808 State

8.5

Timeless

808 State Review: Transmission Suite
Seventeen years on from their last release, pioneering duo 808 State have dropped a full album at a moment in time when full-on rave and early techno revivals are rinsing the underground scene. With other "legacy acts" of their time also making recent appearances and going back on tour, 808 State further cement the fact that there are still a few artists from this proto-era of club music with enduring music that still sounds relevant and fun today. That said, Graham Massey and Andrew Barker aren't trying to reinvent the wheel with this album; instead of changing their aesthetic to match 2019 trends, they've focused on still immersing us in the hardware-led world of sonic futurism that's defined the electronic music of post-industrial cities like Detroit, Berlin and Manchester, while staying relatively timeless.

[Reviewer: ZARA WLADAWSKY]