"We come from an era of having a go," say Graham Massey and Andrew Barker of 808 State. The era in question was acid house, where alien instrumentals would crash the pop charts, eureka moments would occur at the Haçienda, and a sense of dignity was restored to the working classes following a decade of Thatcherite policies and political disharmony. 808 State, then also featuring Darren Partington, Martin Price and Gerald Simpson (A Guy Called Gerald), were at the centre of this explosion. Hits like "In Yer Face," "Cübik," "Flow Coma" and chillout ur-text "Pacific State" are etched into British dance culture. High-profile remixes by the likes of Aphex Twin, Grooverider and Bicep have only deepened that mark.
When talking to Gabriel Szatan about what fuelled Transmission Suite––their first album in 17 years, out this week––808 State say that they reject cheap nostalgia. The album, which scans like a user-friendly map to electronic music history, takes inspiration from the spark of rave's heyday, but also the fluidity of spiritual jazz, the shockwaves of soundsystem culture, and contemporary Mancunian club nights like Swing Ting, where Bauhaus and dancehall are likely to rub shoulders – just as 808 State's first records and tapes did at hip-hop and electro nights, over thirty years ago.
The RA Exchange is also available on Spotify.