Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Better late than never, I say.  What I'm referring to here is the eight page primer on seminal garage, experimental,  dub-punk,  dance,  electronics band Cabaret Voltaire in the latest issue of THE WIRE.  My brother and I were discussing the conspicuous absence of a Cabs primer only a week earlier,  and somehow it materialized (thanks Tony).  It sent me listening again to the above compilation of tracks released via Begium independent Les Disques Du Crepuscule.  After being bludgeoned by recent banalities from American Idol "stars"  and lifeless productions by big name "artists",  these tracks sound like stubborn twitches from an organism with very little need of technology for life support.  This stirringly  inventive stuff melds Richard H Kirk's cavernous guitar smears with Stephen Mallinder's much-improved bass playing and heavily processed voice,  and Chris Watson's  brittle electronics/percussion.  Found voices dart in and out of many of these tracks to great effect.  Remember that much of this was released in the early eighties before those voices of authority became industrial cliches.  Tracks like "Fool's Game",  "Sluggin Fer Jesus (Parts 1-3)",  "Your Agent Man",  and "Gut Level" are among the Cab's best work. The sounds of paranoia never again seemed so prescient.  Ask the NSA.

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