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Never Found in the '80s: Cabaret Voltaire

It is time for something industrial.

Cabaret Voltaire began as a performance art group in 1973 in Sheffield, England. They experimented with electronically produced sounds and tape machines. As they progressed into the '80s, their sound had incorporated elements of new wave, dance, and pop music for more accessibility. They were pioneers of what came to be known as industrial music, but they were never found on the American Pop charts.

When I first heard them, I wasn't sure what to make of them. I liked guitars in my music - there were none in Cabaret Voltaire's. I resisted for a while, until I realized how danceable their music was. As is the case with today's song, Sensoria. Sensoria was a single off their 1984 album - Micro-Phonies. The version we're featuring is the 12" mix and it clocks in at more than seven minutes. And what a danceable more than seven minutes it is.

The video does something very cool. In several shots, the camera starts level to the ground then lifts up and arches over the characters and moves back to the ground, with the image now upside down. Then it arches back to the starting point. It's a cool and disorienting effect. Those shots are done so well, I can't figure out how they did it.

The band started with three members: Richard H Kirk, Stephen Mallinder, and Chris Watson. In 1981, Watson left the band and it carried on with just two members. In 1994, Kirk and Mallinder called it quits. But, in 2014, Cabaret Voltaire "reformed" with Kirk as the sole member.

- Jim ‘Dr. Dim' Fitzsimons


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 9:59am]


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