90 [Deluxe Edition]

by: 808 State

808 State's debut album release on ZTT Records wasn't the first major U.K. house/techno release, but arguably, it was the most important at the time, gaining a reputation over the years as a true classic in the field of electronic music. While not remarkably different from its many American precursors, 90 not only established that Britain could do things just as well as the States, it also helped to fully lay the groundwork for the '90s electronic revolution that continues to play out in the U.K. Arguably, 808 at this point weren't always pushing edges: "Magical Dream" and "Ancodia" have a decided gentility to their grooves. That said, "Cobra Bora" has an aggro edge, mixing gentler impulses with something more clipped and rough, not to mention a wickedly clever sample of the a cappella opening to Van McCoy's "The Hustle," clearly pointing the way to the monstrous groove of Cubik in a year's time. "Pacific 202," 90's classic number, fuses the two strains perfectly, with its soft synth and sax combination riding an insistent bass groove that's just a little bit more forceful than might be expected. The concluding tracks, such as "808080808," are closer to being in-your-face danceable, though with interesting tweaks along the way, such as "Donkey Doctor"'s echoed vocal sample and sudden mid-song break to a softer groove. ~ Ned Raggett

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