Thursday, October 16, 2008
Cabaret Voltaire - The Original Sound Of Sheffield '78/'82
Cabaret Voltaire, "Do The Mussolini (Headkick!)" (YSI link)
Cabaret Voltaire, "Nag Nag Nag" (YSI link)
Cabaret Voltaire, "Obsession" (YSI link)
Cabaret Voltaire, "Loosen The Clamp" (YSI link)
[Ed. note: Sorry for the m4a files. I uploaded this CD a long time ago and didn't realize I had done so in this format. I don't have access to the CD at the moment, but hopefully once I get back to Philly, I'll be able to give everyone a HQ mp3. In the meantime, this should give you a taste of CV.]
It wasn't all disco and cocaine back in the late 70s. There was also a parallel electronic music scene that took its inspiration from the avant garde and punk than soul and funk. Cabaret Voltaire are one of the best examples of this dark dance music. A trio consisting of Richard H. Kirk, Stephen Mallinder and Chris Watson that formed in the early 70s, the band was supremely influential in developing the industrial sound. They themselves were influenced by the work of Beats like William S. Burroughs and Bryon Grisin, who experimented with the cut-up technique in which they would cut up their work into pieces and reorder them at random.
Enough background, let's get to the music. These songs come from the 2001 compilation, The Original Sound Of Sheffield '78/'82, on Mute Records that collected some of the band's best songs from the period of 1978-1982, the period when things first got rolling for the group. This early period features some of the bleakest, darkest music ever, a whole disc of feedback, distortion, manipulated sounds, tribal drum machine noises. There's definitely a pulse and rhythm here, somtimes buried under the static, this ain't bleeps and noises; check out the final song, "Loosen The Clamp," you will clearly hear that these guys were responding to the dance music coming out at the time. This isn't oontz-oontz dance music, but it's there, stripped to the bone. The funky bass, the mechanical, almost tribal drums and space-y keys create a hypnotic track that would influence lots of our favorite music still to come.
The earlier songs like the awesomely titled "Do The Mussolini (Headkick!)" come more out of the punk ether, with the main comparison that comes to my mind is the electro-punk sounds of Suicide. "Nag Nag Nag" is similar, starting off in feedback and never giving your eardrums much of break from there on out. There's some distorted vocals, a massive rhythm section that would make a rock band proud and that layer of feedback that drifts over the whole thing. Awesome stuff.
Obviously, I highly recommend picking up this CD from the excellent Forced Exposure, a great introduction to the group. We'll take a look at part of the look back which covers 1983-1987 and hopefully a lot more down the road, as we're gonna focus a lot more on this darker side of the dance music world. Oh, and I am going to be a little more active with my myspace page, so add me if you'd like some extra goodies. Yes? Yes!