808 State – Live At Manchester International – July 27, 1990 – Jim Moody Collection –
808 State this weekend – something to crank up the voltage in your seats, or get you out of that “Stay-In” paralysis. In concert from the Manchester International Festival, recorded on July 27, 1990 and generously provided by the Jim Moody Collection of amazing and highly rare concerts. Of which I am indebted big-time.
808 State formed in 1987 in Manchester, taking their name from the Roland TR-808 drum machine. They were formed by Graham Massey, Martin Price and Gerald Simpson, and they released their debut album, Newbuild, in September 1988. The band secured commercial success in 1989, when their song “Pacific State” was picked up by BBC Radio 1 DJ Gary Davies. 808 State’s style has been labeled as techno and house, and the band are regarded as “a pioneer of the acid house sound”. The band’s album, Newbuild, was influential in the development of the Madchester and baggy scenes.
A little background, via Wikipedia for the uninitiated:
Martin Price was the owner of a record shop, Eastern Bloc, and was also the founder of the independent record label, Creed. Customers Graham Massey and Gerald Simpson joined with Price to form a hip hop group called Hit Squad Manchester. Soon after, the band shifted to an acid house sound, recording the debut Newbuild in 1988, while using the name 808 State for the first time.
Newbuild was released on Price’s own record label. In an interview with Mojo magazine in 2005, Graham Massey explained that the album was recorded over the course of a winter weekend in January 1988 at Spirit Studios, Manchester. The album was named after a Bolton housing co-operative. The record was re-released in 2005 on Aphex Twin’s Rephlex Records. Aphex Twin was a huge fan of the record: “It was the next step after Chicago acid, and as much as I loved that, I could relate much better to 808 State. It seemed colder and more human at the same time.”
Around the same time, the band also recorded an acid house version of New Order’s “Blue Monday”. A favorite at The Haçienda’s Hot Night, the recording was believed lost until Autechre’s Sean Booth asked Massey to dig through his archive of old material. The record was released in 2004 by Rephlex Records. “We didn’t put a lot of thought into it but maybe that’s its charm,” said Massey at the time.
Massey was also a member of the band Aqua in the early 1990s, along with the violinist Graham Clark, a former pupil of Manchester Grammar School.
The band’s song “Pacific State” was released as a single, peaking at number 10 in the UK Singles Chart. Simpson left the group in 1989 to form his own solo project, A Guy Called Gerald. At this point, the remaining personnel enlisted DJs Andrew Barker and Darren Partington, known as the Spinmasters, and recorded the EP, Quadrastate in July 1989. Ninety was released in December 1989.
MC Tunes worked with the band on the 1990 album, The North At Its Heights. The album was a moderate success, reaching number 26 in the UK Albums Chart, and also saw a European and Japanese release. It spawned three UK singles, “The Only Rhyme That Bites” – featuring a sample of “The Big Country” performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic – (UK number 10), “Tunes Splits the Atom” (UK number 18) and “Primary Rhyming” (UK number 67). The first two issues credited MC Tunes versus 808 State, whilst the latter was simply MC Tunes.
Hit Play and get moving.