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808 in the Great Lakes State

by Brian Kage

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There's something magic about the number Eight. Double it, and combine it with its unhalved relative Zero, to create the mystical palindrome “808”. And without a doubt, a multitude of musical magic has been made with the 808, one of music’s most iconic drum machines.

Both a fan of the number and the machine, Michigander Music boss Brian Kage has always related eight to the paths we take in life — and being on the right one. For the label's eighth release, Kage pays homage to electronic music's futuristic past by bringing it up to speed with the present, including reimagining one of his own releases from when net labels were a thing.

Opening with "808 and the Great Lakes State," there's a clear influence — in title and sound — from a certain seminal pioneering Manchester techno group, 808 State — who formed and debuted in '88, by the way. With the recent passing of one of its members, Andy Barker, the track exists as a tribute to the formative moments and blissful memories of those '90s experience. The most iconic touches of this new age techno and acid sound are all there, but the end result is something more subtle, more spacious, and more patient for the modern ear.

Kage follows up with a new mix, re-envisioning "Eight Ways" — a deep, pulsating techno journey originally released on Thinner almost 20 years ago. With the "808 Mix," Kage takes the mentally stimulating hypnotism of the original and emboldens it into something more body driven by way of 808 bass kicks and sharpened hi-hats — a matured version begging for immediate dance floor play. The underlying liquid pads remain, with symphonic layers of increasingly dramatic piano chords, fluttery synth lines, and a heavens-opening ebb and flow of angelic melodies.

Finishing off the release, "Learn to Surrender" is pure electronic Detroit techno through and through. Electrically charged dub chords build on top of a revolving synth and rhythmic bass line, interwoven to constantly propel the track forward. Midway through, meditative vocals provide a mantra for surrendering to life, having already led listeners to becoming lost in the fully immersive sea of sounds.

“808 and the Great Lakes State” is a purposeful, mental, and physical trip connecting the many points of electronic music — and of life itself — as only a truly timeless approach can.


released May 27, 2022


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Brian Kage Detroit, Michigan

Brian is Detroit-based Techno Producer & DJ. Manager of the record label, Michigander, with releases on FXHE, Planet-E, Beretta Music, Deeplabs, and more. Together with Luke Hess, Brian Kage forms the duo known as 'Reference.' Brian also operates "Kage Mastering" providing mixing and mastering services for artists. ... more

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