Release Date: Jul 1, 2014
Record label: Mute
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Club/Dance, Alternative Dance, Post-Punk, Industrial Dance
Until this 2014 set from Mute, Cabaret Voltaire's periods with Rough Trade (1978-1982) and Some Bizzare/Virgin (1983-1985) were anthologized separately, as presented on The Original Sound of Sheffield '78/'82 and The Original Sound of Sheffield '83/'87. These discs also drew a greater distinction between CV's output with and without founding member Chris Watson, who departed after the final Rough Trade release, 1982's 2X45. Compiled by the group's Richard H.
There are bands for whom this kind of compilation in 2014 would be redundant. Despite the presence of (versions of) 12 of these 19 tracks on relatively recent, well-curated, beautifully packaged compilations, Cabaret Voltaire are not one of those bands. The greater part of why #7885 is necessary simply and sadly goes back to the Cabs being one of those pioneering groups (more pioneering than most, right down to inventing some of the instruments they were using) that is given more lip service than actual love, let alone being played and heard.
No story of the Sheffield music scene is complete without mention of Cabaret Voltaire, the post-punk outfit whose approach to electronic music was so feral it felt like you could hear it degrading in real time. The band formed in 1973, a time when one of their formative influences, Roxy Music, were in their Eno-inspired pomp. Fired up on a diet of J.G.
I have to confess that I’ve never properly got into Cabaret Voltaire. Despite being one of the most important, and influential, groups to emerge from the burgeoning world of industrial music in the late Seventies, the Sheffield act are better known for a shift in direction, in the mid-1980s, towards the more fashionable world of new wave. #7885 (Electropunk to Technopop, 1978-1985) is, one suspects, designed to emphasise the group’s shift in style over the years.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Cabaret Voltaire are known best for being one of the most important acts in experimental electronic music. #7885 (Electropunk to Technopop 1978-1985) does exactly what it says on the tin and compiles two distinct periods of Cabaret Voltaire – 1978-81 and 1983-85 – for the first time together on one release.
Personally compiled by Richard H Kirk – Cabaret Voltaire’s sole remaining member – these 19 tracks are intended as an introduction to the influential experimentalists from Sheffield. It gathers together what he terms some of the band’s more “concise” moments – 7” singles and radio edits – but anyone who knows the band will be aware that doesn’t mean it’s going to be straightforward. Cabaret Voltaire were never meant to be an easy listen.
The stylistic changes of Cabaret Voltaire charted by this compilation have been the subject of widespread critical discussion over the years. In moving beyond their avant-garde origins, the 'technopop' which comprises the latter half of this compilation has often been viewed as a descent into the lightweight, and a commercial sell-out. On the contrary, #7885 (Electropunk to Technopop 1978 - 1985) proves a mastery of superficially conflicting musical spaces.
When you think of Cabaret Voltaire, there’s a good chance that the music you think of will fall within the bounds of the material covered in this new compilation. Whether you’re into their ‘electro punk’ beginnings or their ‘techno pop’ second phase (or both), you’ll have a good idea about what to expect from this collection of singles, edits, cut-downs and concise album tracks. With such a brief (short tracks, essentially), one might imagine that the necessary quota of early material might take up the majority of the record.