ex:el (1991) Named after the Roland TR-808 drum machine, this fresh-faced quartet from Manchester, England, is easy to dismiss as another bunch of high-tech Eurowimps. Nevertheless, there's… 808 State Electronic
Music Review

ex:el (1991)

EW's GRADE
B+

Details Lead Performance: 808 State; Genre: Electronic

Named after the Roland TR-808 drum machine, this fresh-faced quartet from Manchester, England, is easy to dismiss as another bunch of high-tech Eurowimps. Nevertheless, there's a subtle beauty to the group's dance-oriented, largely instrumental mood music that has led British critics to label it ''New Age house music'' — a style characterized by dreamy, electronic washes of sound underpinned by earth-shaking beats. Long on atmospherics and texture but short on hooks and tunes, this is highly energized Muzak, which 808 State make brilliantly, creating hypnotic, trance-inducing soundscapes. Unlike most music of its kind, ex:el works nearly as well in the privacy of your living room as it does in a crowded nightclub. At last, a dance-music album for stay-at-home types who have to get up in the morning. B+

Originally posted May 17, 1991 Published in issue #66 May 17, 1991 Order article reprints