808 State

Outpost Transmission

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It would have been hard to imagine 808 State having such a low profile during the days of the massive "Cubik." Outpost Transmission is the first album by the group since entering their second decade in 1998. Five years in the making, it's not an up-front stunner but a slowly developing well-rounded collection of electronica falling outside contemporary subgenres. There's nothing to easily latch onto like back in the early days, but Outpost Transmission gives the listener more cheeky psychedelia to nose around in than any previous releases. The clever "Chopsumwong" sounds like old-school 808 being remixed by Mike Paradinas with a melody just about to fall apart, and the delicate "Suntower" brings to mind Graham Massey's work with Björk. Simian's Simon Lord guests on the stomping "606," a great track that looses some impact due to a murky mix. Elbow's Guy Garvey does well enough on the Scott Walker-meets-Yellow Magic Orchestra-flavored "Lemonsoul." Alabama 3's vocalists have less to work with on "Crossword," with its corny "no chillout!" call-out hook. When the vocal tracks are skipped it all seems much more focused. It's a mature 808 State on Outpost Transmission, and the album does take more listens than usual to appreciate.

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