Sunday, November 9, 2008

808 State - Quadrastate EP (1989)

808 State are an interesting band. Acid house became a well known genre in the UK in the late 80's basically due to the constant playing of the song Pacific State on a popular radio station. Which is strange, because the version of Pacific State on their seminal Quadrastate EP doesn't actually any acid. Weird.

But what can you say about Pacific State that hasn't been said before. Its brilliance, its meshing of techno, rave, acid (the more well known version) and even proto-trance is unique. As is the fact that there is a saxophone riff that runs throughout, along with a natural ambienty undertone. This particular version of the song is much more drums and breaks heavy, with tinkling sound effects floating around as well. It is different to its more well known "remix", but is interesting enough to pull off what is sacrilege (having no acid).

The rest of the EP is a mixed bag. 106 is a short and intriguing song, which can only be termed as "jangly". State Ritual continues on where 106 left off, but with a softer sound and other chirps and twerps thrown in, as well as a good bass riff.

Disco State starts off the B-side well, with it's insanely catchy bassline, complimented with background synths and a small bit of acid. Fire Cracker finally gives us a big blob of acid (what, five songs into a six song EP?), as well as the subcontinental cries of an Asian persuasion. To close, State to State seems happy to re-remix 106 into another slower song, with more Asian cries.

As you can tell, there is actually little variation between the different songs on the Quadrastate EP, and this is a let down. Sure, Pacific State is a classic, but there are only really 3 1/2 ideas present here. Also, the EP is as dated as hell. There are lots of 80's cliches flying around, from the sometimes tinny drums and basses, to the plonky keyboards, to the very fact that I easily picture any one of these songs appearing in a late 80's/ early 90's video game.

And of course, there's the fact that this is apparently acid house, so where is the acid? Fire Cracker is fine, but there's barely any acid in any other song, but I guess that's the marketer's fault.

Don't let the negativity above fool you, the Quadrastate EP is still an extremely fun EP, but I would recommend picking up 808 State's later work, Utd. Pacific State, as it contains the better parts of this EP (Pacific State, Disco State), as well as a lot more variance, and a cleaner sound.

Here's a link to the Quadrastate EP version of Pacific State:

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