With their sample-driven dance music, the pioneering Manchester-based 808 State was one of the first house groups to release trance/ambient dance records.
Formed in 1988 during the biggest youth movement since punk, the trio of Martin Price, Graham Massey and Gerald Simpson released two albums before signing with ZTT.
Instead of being an incessant pounding, the beat in 808 State’s music was hypnotic and mesmerising; occasionally, their records featured a vocalist/rapper (including guest appearances by Bjork and New Order‘s Bernard Sumner) but the music is mainly instrumental.
In the late ’80s and early ’90s, both their own records and their remixes were dance club staples.
808:90 (1989) became one of the first pure dance albums to chart in the UK, representing a defining moment for the early UK rave scene.
One of the original members of 808 State, Gerald Simpson, achieved success and fame in his own right after co-writing one of their biggest hits, Pacific State (1989). He left the band in the late 80s for a solo career as A Guy Called Gerald and was replaced by Andrew Barker and Darren Partington
His highest-profile moment came in the form of the ubiquitous late 80s club hit, Voodoo Ray, though his influence on dance music has extended through house, techno, acid house, electro, hardcore techno and drum ‘n’ bass.
Keyboards, guitar, saxophone