808 State

Blueprint (The Best Of)
(CD / Download)

Format: CD
Cat. No.: SALVOCD051
Barcode: 698458815125
Playing Time: 76m 15s

808 State are... ‘masters of their art’ (Q), ‘pioneers’ (Future Music), ‘for sonic trailblazing and inestimable influence, among our most important groups’ (Record Collector) and ‘Godfathers’ (Nude), who ‘sketched the blueprint for British techno as we know it’ (Mixmag).

Indisputably one of the most important UK acts of the late 80s and 90s dance music explosion, 808 State’s influence will reverberate in the genre for years to come. They were that particularly rare beast: an accomplished singles outfit that was also taken very seriously as an albums act.

Salvo takes great pride in presenting their “Greatest Bits”, from 1988 to the present day. The very best of the psychoecstatic, trance-inducing, groove-riding, techno-funkalogical sound of 808 State!

See all the ZTT related releases here


The title of this retrospective is particularly prescient, since 808 State are true pioneers. It’s hard to recall any other dance album from 1989, let alone one as good as the Manc group’s ’Ninety’. But that’s not even the start of the story, with the techno and acid sounds of the preceding ’New Build’ and ’Quadrastate’ EPs being hugely innovative and influential.

Whereas their last compilation in 1998 was a fairly straightforward ZTT-era Greatest Hits, this collection revisits tracks both pre and post that era, positioning itself as a "Greatest Bits" rather than just the singles. Being just a one CD affair, there’s inevitably plenty of essential stuff absent, but everything present is a masterclass in how to create compelling machine-made music full of character and humanity.

’Pacific State’ remains an impossibly seminal track but the likes of ’Nephatiti’ and ’Plan 9’ prove that they could consistently deliver soulful electronica, whilst elsewhere the collaborations with Björk, James Dean Bradfield and Guy Garvey reveal a group with a mindset that stretches far beyond just club culture.

The quotes in the accompanying sleevenotes reveal the high esteem 808 State are held in by their techno peers; quite right too - ’Blueprint’ amply demonstrates a fearless sonic adventurism with music that has not dated, but actually aged gracefully.

CMU Daily

This handsomely designed 808 State compilation is a reminder of the Manchester dance music pioneers’ elasticity, from ambient exotica of “Pacific State” and brutal techno of “Timebomb” to collaborations with Björk and Elbow’s Guy Garvey. There are several first-rate remixes too, including Aphex Twin’s pulverising version of “Flow Coma” and Monkey Mafia’s look back at chunky acid house of “Cübik”.
The Financial Times

It’s impossible to underplay the importance of 808 State. Arriving at a time when acid house was starting to infiltrate the hipper enclaves of UK clubland, the original trio of Graham Massey, Martin Price and Gerald Simpson took the hard sound of Chicago house and lashed it to industrial grooves and experimental music. Late-80s floor-fillers like Flow Coma and Pacific State were hugely influential on a new generation of techno-heads, chief among them Aphex Twin, Autechre and Orbital.

Indeed, it’s Aphex Twin’s 2001 remix of Flow Coma that kicks off this terrific retrospective. A star-stuffed one it is too, including collaborations with Brian Eno, Bjork, Simian, James Dean Bradfield, Guy Garvey and Trevor Horn. What’s particularly fascinating is just how far ahead of the curve 808 State clearly were. What’s particularly fascinating is just how far ahead of the curve 808 State clearly were. Sharp-edged rave classics like Cübik and In Yer Face pre-date the whole superstar DJ/superclub boom of the 90s. But by the time The Chemical Brothers and Cream had become steady fixtures on the new dance scene, 808 State were already moving away from the kinetic thump of techno-funk and were investing the music with more tranquil, ambient tones. Theirs was music for both mind and feet, highlighted here by the luminous Björk set-to, Qmart. And those still lamenting the demise of 90s yoof-TV Friday-nighter The Word (look, you never know) will be buoyed by the appearance of Olympic, its theme tune.

The latter is one of several exclusive (re)mixes on this set. Others given a fresh facelift are Cübik (Monkey Mafia), Plan 9 (Trevor Horn) and the "808 tape mix" of the wonderful Timebomb. The weird’n’glitchy stuff still sounds great (especially a revamped 606, with Simian) but Guy Garvey’s turn on Lemonsoul proves they were always capable of delivering a swoonsome mood piece. Avid followers will be especially intrigued by two spanking new arrivals: Spanish Ice and Metaluna. The latter brings everything around full circle by smartly segueing into Compulsion, the closing track on 1988 debut LP Newbuild.

It’s testament to 808 State’s lasting excellence that there’s no room here for Lift, Open Your Mind or Ooops. Nor is there space for hi-calibre guests like Ian MvCulloch, bernard Sumner or Lou Rhodes. "808 State will return," claim the liner notes. In the meantime this’ll do very nicely.


...Blueprint offers a good variation between the anthems that we all loved along with some of the curios that lay embedded within albums and B-sides unvisited these past 15 years. The packaging is a lovely triptych fold out design with a booklet full of pictures and interviews and the remarks within remind us of how unusual it was at a time of faceless white label 12" records for a dance act to build a name for itself as an album band.

...On reflection you realise with how much rigour they refused to run with the pack. Intelligent and knowing, they’re a credit to their generation

Biased Brenda



Whilst the ’90’ album is surely their finest hour, ’Blueprint’ reels in their best years with an intelligent selection of top 808 State material, lovingly repackaged. A refreshing ’greatest bits’ compilation, there’s a good few hits for newcomers, plus enough new and/or quirky material for completists and collectors. For those wanting a simple chronological ’greatest hits’ package, ’808:88:98’ is the album to go for, whereas ’Blueprint’ offers a deeper and wider ovreview of this important and influential British techno tour de force. A great package for newbies and collectors alike.


Flow Coma (AFX remix by Aphex Twin)
Pacific State (origin)
In Yer Face (revisited)
Cübik (Monkey Mafia Mix)
Timebomb (808 Tape Mix)
Cobra Bora (revisited)
Olympic (Word Production Mix)
Nimbus (revisited)
Firecracker (edit)
Plan 9 (radio edit by Trevor Horn)
Lopez featuring James Dean Bradfield (Radio Mix by Brian Eno)
Lemonsoul featuring Guy Garvey
Qmart featuring Björk
606 featuring Simian (revisited)
Spanish Ice
Metaluna/Compulsion (revisited)