808 State founders Graham Massey, Martin Price, and Gerald Simpson weren’t the first to put an ambient spin on the nascent sounds of techno. But their 1989 single “Pacific State”—a UK Top 10 hit with a slew of remixes, including the iconic “Pacific 202”—epitomizes the fusion of those two styles, thanks to its ethereal sax melody and eerie loon sample. Simpson’s departure to launch his project A Guy Called Gerald, and the arrival of DJs Andrew Barker and Darren Partington, signaled a shift toward a tougher sound for the Manchester group: “In Yer Face,” from 1991’s ex.el EP, arrays minor-key stabs, apocalyptic sirens, and shredding guitars over chugging drum machines; 1993’s equally rave-y “Timebomb” is a breakbeat war dance. But the more playful “One in Ten” weds UB40 to the bassline from Kraftwerk’s “The Model,” while 2003’s dreamy “Lemonsoul” makes good on the group’s early promise of chilled-out bliss. By the end of the 2010s, 808 State had slimmed down to the duo of Barker and Massey. Barker died November 6, 2021 at the age of 53.