100 Greatest Songs of the 80’s #42 808 State – Pacific State

Released: 1989

Nothing comes from absolutely nowehere: in the annals of the UK’s house music scene it’s a popular myth that the chief impetus came from retreating soul boys bringing back armfuls of Balearic classics from the White Island, before showing them out in a London gym. Hey presto – instant youth movement.

The north – indeed, the rest of country – knows better of course; 808 State members Graham Massey and Andy Barker have talked recently about working the soul and funk nights, hip-hip dance offs and jazz funk scenes, random gigs that eventually melded together and found a spiritual home at The Hacienda, Tony Wilson’s indulgent folly which became a cultural ground zero.

Pacific State may have been written with the club and it’s loved-up punters in mind, but like the man who conceived it, the track itself was highly unorthodox: what was that saxophone doing on it? Where was the kick drum? Who decided there was a need for birdsong?

It may have sounded like the Star Wars cantina band on pills, but Pacific State’s most ingenious features were also its strengths, one of the first tunes of the era which sounded distinctly unlike anything else, it was recognisable amongst the chaos of arms, smiles, sweat and omnipresent bass.  With a bloodline you could trace back through every crate digger’s bones, house suddenly got itself a new homegrown sort of weird.

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