‘ex:el’ is 808 State at play. The soundtrack to a party, with all the moments of elation, exhaustion and regret. The party starts with ‘San Francisco’, an instrumental track as easy to love as it is to forget. But wait, wasn’t that the doorbell? Well, if it isn’t Bernard Sumner. The 8ies send him into the kitchen, but he can’t help making up a romantic little rhyme to sing to the gentle tune the boys are playing while he munches through the canapés. He calls it ‘Spanish Heart’.
‘Leo Leo’ gets the party into full swing and, during the Latin grooves of ‘Qmart’, Bjork Sugarcube arrives and tries to get the 8ies’ attention by shouting above the music. Bjork then pops into the kitchen to pour a glass of Irn Bru while the boys carry straight on with ‘Nephatiti’ and the seductive dream state of ‘Lift’. Bjork likes ‘Lift’ so much she gets them to play it again, slightly differently, while she improvises a song. She calls it ‘Ooops’.
Not wanting the guests to upstage them at their own party, the 8ies start flexing their jazzy techno muscles on ‘Empire’, ‘In Yer Face’, ‘Lambrusco Cowboy’ and ‘Techno Bell’, drawing the party to a close.
Having closed the door on the last guest and haggled with a cabbie over the fare from Manchester to Reykjavic, the 8ies put on a CD of the tingly ‘Olympic’, clear away the glasses and think about how many songs they’re going to write tomorrow.