Altern 8

Altern 8

Profile:
Highly influential early 90's UK rave duo, formed in Stafford in 1990 after the dissolution of previous alias Nexus 21. Known for an iconic chemical warfare image and a hardcore sound typified by the seminal "Frequency" single.
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Altern 8 Discography

Albums

A8 PIC 1 Altern 8 Full On .. Mask Hysteria (Album) Network Records A8 PIC 1 UK 1992 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

NWKT 10 Altern 8 Overload EP (EP) Network Records NWKT 10 UK 1990 Sell This Version
NWKT 34 Altern 8 Activ 8 (Come With Me) (Single, Maxi) Network Records NWKT 34 UK 1991 Sell This Version
NWKT 24, NWKT 25 Altern 8 / Rhythmatic Altern 8 / Rhythmatic - The Vertigo E.P. (EP, Single) Network Records NWKT 24, NWKT 25 UK 1991 Sell This Version
NWK TR 34 Altern 8 Frequency / Give It To Baby Network Records NWK TR 34 UK 1991 Sell This Version
NWK 59 Altern 8 Brutal-8-E (Orange Edition) (Maxi, Single) Network Records NWK 59 UK 1992 Sell This Version
RTD 127.1342.3, NWKCD38 Altern 8 E*Vapor*8 / Armageddon (Single, Maxi) Network Records RTD 127.1342.3, NWKCD38 Germany 1992 Sell This Version
NWKTEN56 Altern 8 V's Evelyn King Altern 8 V's Evelyn King - Shame (Single) Network Records NWKTEN56 UK 1992 Sell This Version
NWKC 49 Altern 8 Hypnotic St-8 (Single) Network Records NWKC 49 UK 1992 Sell This Version
SPRO 12696 Altern 8 Infiltr-8 America EP (EP, Single) Virgin SPRO 12696 US 1992 Sell This Version
NWKCD73, NWKCD 73 Altern 8 Everybody (Single) Network Records NWKCD73, NWKCD 73 UK 1993 Sell This Version

DJ Mixes

TTVCD3233 Altern 8 Old Skool Euphoria(2xCD, Comp, Mixed + Box) Telstar TV TTVCD3233 UK 2001 Sell This Version

Miscellaneous

none Altern 8 R.E.A.L. Collector's Edition Altern 8(Flexi, 8", Ltd, S/Sided) R.E.A.L. Events none US 1992 Sell This Version

Reviews Show All 4 Reviews

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Jarren

Jarren

May 26, 2013
edited over 2 years ago
Altern 8 are one of the most fondly remembered bands of the early 90's UK rave scene. The duo of Mark Archer and Chris Peat blasted onto the scene in 1991 with chart hits "Infiltrate 202" & "Activ 8", two slices of sample-filled breakbeat techno. While the music was striking (using famous samples from the likes of Candi Staton as well as more obscure sources) the guys used imagery with equal impressiveness. Wearing chemical warfare protection suits and dust masks onstage they had a presence of the danger that their music also held.

Of course they did not always have such an image. The two guys from Stafford, England actually started making music in 1989 as Nexus 21, which musically was much more minimal than the rave that they would become world famous for. Early techno releases such as (Still) Life Keeps Moving and Self Hypnosis gained the duo a reputation for music that was equally as impressive as that coming out of Detroit, and indeed they attracted the attention of Inner City's producer Kevin Saunderson who would go on to work with the band and actually be influenced by them!

Nexus 21 began to transform in 1990 as Mark & Chris were becoming more aware of the the new Hardcore Techno sound coming from Europe, as well as a breakbeat driven sound emerging in the UK by acts like 4 Hero. The duo decided to release a new E.P. called "Overload", and created an alternate name for themselves: Altern 8. After releasing the final Nexus 21 single "I Know We Can Make It" (with the b-side "Sychologic PSP" being the perfect bridge from Nexus 21 to Altern 8) in 1991, the transformation was complete.

In late 1991 Altern 8's dream came true. Activ 8 got into the UK top 10 singles chart, and so they were asked to appear on the TV show Top Of The Pops. This was really the public's first taste of the band, and as such it was also an important moment in bringing the hardcore rave culture to the masses. This also started the bands reputation for pranks and funny moments; as they performed on Top Of The Pops they placed a jar of Vicks Vapo Rub (commonly used by Ecstasy users to heighten the buzz) on top of their equipment!

Other pranks followed, such as attempting to fly a hot air balloon over Stafford city centre at Christmas (while pretending to drop festive cakes laced with MDMA to the citizens below)! Unfortunately the balloon was unable to fly but the prank still got them media coverage. Chris Peat stood as candidate in a British General Election (but failed to win many votes). Also, they allegedly attempted to hire an actual Shaman to cleanse a gig of it's "rock 'n roll past" before going on stage....

By 1992 all this media coverage (half made up by the band, half made up by the media) had paid off, and the band were a household name. Further hits came, from the huge Evapor 8 (which sampled Strings Of Life and had a guest vocal from P.P. Arnold), Brutal-8-E (which sampled house classic Let's Get Brutal by Nitro Deluxe) and Hypnotic ST-8 (in which the band actually sampled themselves, with their Nexus 21 track Self Hypnosis).

Frequency (possibly their most critically acclaimed track), was released as a limited edition of 10,001 vinyl-only copies and the band also collaborated with Disco legend Evelyn King for a special 10" green vinyl entitled "Shame".

As a swansong, Everybody was released in 1993 with a remix by drum n bass pioneers 2 Bad Mice.

By this stage, rave had splintered. On one hand you had the 4/4 sound that in the UK would turn to Gabber / Happy Hardcore in the main raves and Acid Techno / Trance in the underground. On the other hand you had the much more concentrated but quintessentially English sound of Jungle, soon to progress to Drum n Bass.

Altern 8 represented a sound & ethos that embraced both sides of this coin before it was flipped on its slim, opposing sides.
DJShades

DJShades

July 3, 2008
Just to correct eatstatic's entry...

The venue of Altern-8s infamous, afterhours "gig on the back of a truck in the carpark outside the club" stunt was indeed Shelleys, but the actual location of the club was Longton (Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. England), not Stafford. It was Altern-8 themselves that were from Stafford. If I recall correctly the boys got quite a severe ear bashing (which is an understatement of great proportions) from the local constabulary who weren't amused by the legendary open-air performance!
eatstatic

eatstatic

November 5, 2005
edited over 10 years ago
I have loved Altern8 since their 1st release. Whilst sounding like they were taking the piss at the rave scene they managed to pull off some very credible classics. One of their best known stunts was to pull up outside Shelleys night club in Stafford (england), in an articulated truck and do a 30 minute set of all their tunes, whilst filming for one of their videos. Sadly they have pretty much gone off the scene, but I had a chance to see them DJ at the emporium in Coalville (England) last week and I felt like an 18 year old again.....! Old skool rooles!
barticle

barticle

December 16, 2003
Altern 8 started doing PA's at clubs again a few years back and I'm pleased to say that I've seen the legendary rave duo play twice over the past three years. The line-up on stage consists of Chris Peat and Mark Archer (each behind a giant yellow "A" and "8"), their own MC and a breakdance crew. Of course, you can't tell if it's really Peat and Archer beneath the black hoods and infamous yellow (traditionally Vicks-coated) dustmasks but personally I'm not fussed - it's just great to hear a set of all their classic tunes, complete with shameless fat rave stabs & basslines and even more shameless samples lifted blatantly from early techno, house and electro. :) They typically play the likes of <i>Evapor-8</i>, <i>Infiltrate 202</i>, <i>Hypnotic St-8</i>, <i>Frequency</i>, etc (all sadly overlooked by old skool deejays these days so it's especially wicked to hear them at a rave again) and last time I saw them we were also treated to a more recent D&B remix called <i>Infiltrate 2002</i>.

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