Blueprint - 808 State Album Review

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808 State
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Album Review

Dance music has had a rum deal with regards to respectful reissues, or even safe passage of some of its back-catalogue to any form of CD or download at all. Many record-labels folded prematurely, leaving licensing in mid-air, while other artists and imprints from the past 25 years either lost the tapes in a drug-crazed blitz, or just haven't been fagged to 'digitally remaster' their treasured recordings.

Thankfully, one of the most important, but often over-looked, champions of the British rave scene issued much of their output on a major-label. Warners distributed ZTT back in the 'daze' and 808 State just happened to be signed to them. Earlier works such as "Quadrostate" and "Newbuild" appeared in the US on Tommy Boy, so that's another batch saved from the midst of the bong. Rephlex have more recently handled their reworked acid 12" series (one is featured here), so it's all systems go for a fully-blown greatest hits, yes?

Nope! "Blueprint" is far more than that this is 808 State presented in various forms, be they raw, remixed, rough or ready, rare or not-so-rare. It makes for engaging listening. Key tracks such as "Pacific", "In Yer Face" and "Cubik" turn up in buffed up versions, or in the case of the latter, a rare Monkey Mafia refix that is so contemporary, SBTRKT and the wonky-funky crowd must be cowering in their boots at such limb-twitching beauty.

The lesser-known choices include one of those 'acid' workings, "Flow Coma" given a cranium-felching twist by Aphex Twin, a tweaked revisit of "Nimbus" and a straight revisit of "Nephatiti" and "Spanish Ice" from the 1991 album, "ex:el". Collaborations feature Guy Garvey, Brian Eno & James Dean Bradfield and Bjork, plus there is a welter of unreleased bangers such as the 'desk mix' of maligned single, "Timebomb".

Little else needs to be said except that the booklet and concept, curated by Ian Peel (as with the 808 State reissues a couple of years ago), gleams a little more with written prose from aficionado Paul Hartnoll (it must be time for some Orbital reissues!) and ZTT geek behemoth Paul Morley. Rarities have rarely sounded so riveting.

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