Despite Cabaret Voltaire's reputation as late-'80s purveyors of shiny pre-techno, the work done by Richard H. Kirk, Stephen Mallinder and Chris Watson between 1979 and 1982 is some of the most forward-looking and harsh electronic music ever recorded. Drones and loops and aggressive machinations were at work; albums like Red Mecca and Live at the YMCA were blindingly assaultive, and they were more in line with Cabaret Voltaire's role in a scene that included Throbbing Gristle and Einstürzende Neubauten. This long-form video captures Cabaret Voltaire at the end of this invigorating era; self-released and self-consciously experimental, the quality of presentation is somewhat low, but the material is exciting, especially since it has been unavailable for so long. It's easy to forget that electronic music as we know it today was spun from some very bizarre and unpleasant threads. Seeing Cabaret Voltaire in action provides a quick reminder of how dangerous these sounds were at one time.
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