808 State to Reunite Original Line-Up, A Guy Called Gerald Says
Published Feb 17, 2010Drum & bass innovator A Guy Called Gerald has revealed at a recent Red Bull Music Academy interview that he and Graham Massey have had serious discussion about reforming the original line-up of seminal British dance act 808 State.
A founding member of the group back in its halcyon acid house days, A Guy Called Gerald (aka Gerald Simpson) was around for 808 State's first album, 1988's Newbuild, before departing over creative differences. At that time, Simpson was eager to push the group's sound into more experimental directions, while Massey had it in mind to make 808 more accessible to a wider public.
Ironically, after leaving the group to make more experimental music, Simpson scored chart-topping successes with early dance hits such as "Voodoo Ray." For their part, Massey and a reconfigured 808 State went on to release a series of well-received albums that were more stridently melodic, putting them on the same playing field with acts like Orbital and the Prodigy, all of whom were making steady inroads into the UK mainstream in the early- to mid-'90s.
Simpson's contributions to 808 State have long been obscured by his solo career as a drum & bass innovator. His 1994 album Black Secret Technology was widely considered the first serious jungle full-length, and it established the genre as a more serious undertaking, setting up the path for acts like Goldie and Roni Size to break through in the late '90s.
The clubby and uncompromising Newbuild has been long out of print and ignored by subsequent incarnation of 808 State. It wasn't until 808's '90s peaks subsided and the group went into semi-hibernation that attention began to come back to the original line-up of the band, a movement spurred on by Rephlex Records, who reissued Newbuild and a companion set called Prebuild, which collected 808's early tracks from before the Newbuild era.
Given a renewed interest in acid techno, the reissues were greeted as pioneering efforts in the genre and have since taken up their place as classics of early techno, overshadowing much of the later work released by 808 State.
At this point, it is not clear whether the reunion of Simpson and Massey would involve just live shows or recorded output as well. Simpson has stated that an official announcement will be made in the months to come.
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