It’s 1991, the height of the ‘Madchester’ phenomenon, and 808 State have released four albums, two of which go on to become acid house classics (including 90 - SALVOMDCD04), with the fourth breaking through to the Radio 1 playlist and mass media appeal. The first single from that fourth album ex:el - Cübik/Olympic - reached number ten in November 1990. For Graham Massey, 808 State’s head honcho, Cübik was a progression musically, again giving him the chance to add ‘real’ instruments across the technology of techno. The band may have been famous for taking their name from the Roland TR-808 drum machine but, for Graham, the instrument that coloured a great deal of ex:el was the newest Roland keyboard of the time, the JD-800. “We bought it the day it came out,” he says. “San Francisco starts with the sound of the JD-800 at the beginning. It’s in Spanish Heart and it’s in Leo Leo as the big, aggressive sound. It’s all over QMart, Nephatiti, Lift…” As always, the sound of this new gear was twisted, mashed-up and ‘808ised’. But no matter how weird the music got, and how much the band pulverised the JD-800, they’d found their audience. It has been said that the ex:el period defined 808 State for a generation and if one track from ex:el encapsulates the group it’s In Yer Face, which reached number nine in the singles chart in February 1991. Melody Maker declared In Yer Face to be their Single Of The Week - “an aggressive, gargantuan monster of a track” – and it remains a staple of the 808 live set today. A totally different feeling came from Ooops and Qmart, the collaborations with Bjork which, for Paul Lester at Melody Maker, “drew straight lines between whimsy and wonder.” “She came into the studio with absolutely nothing prepared at all,” recalls Graham Massey . “Quite scary for her, I imagine. She did Qmart first and the finished track is the first take. It was: listen to the track, go in, improvise. She stayed on the following day, which gave her a chance that evening to write Ooops. She wrote two tracks in two days, as quick as that, and it was over. Then the following night, Bernard Sumner came in to record Spanish Heart...” One of the most significant album statements by any UK dance act of the period, Salvo is pleased to present ex:el as a remastered and expanded set featuring a second disc containing ten rare and previously unheard mixes. The 16-page booklet contains brand new sleevenotes telling the breathless tale of the album’s making with contributions from all the key players.
CD1: ex:el REMASTERED
1. SAN FRANCISCO 2. SPANISH HEART (featuring Bernard Sumner) 3. LEO LEO 4. QMART (featuring Björk) 5. NEPHATITI 6. LIFT 7. OOOPS (featuring Björk) 8. EMPIRE 9. IN YER FACE (In Yer Face mix) 10. CÜBIK 11. LAMBRUSCO COWBOY 12. TECHNO BELL 13. OLYMPIC
CD2: 808 ARCHIVES, PART II
1. IN YER FACE (Facially Yours Remix) 2. OLYMPIC (Euro Bass Mix) 3. LIFT (Heavy Mix) 4. CÜBIK (State to Pan Am Mix) 5. OPEN YOUR MIND (Sound Garden Mix) 6. LAMBRUSCO COWBOY (Alt Mix) 7. SKI FAMILY 8. OOOPS (Mellow Birds Mix) 9. IN YER FACE (Cheadle Royal Mix) 10. OLYMPIC (Unreleased Mix)