lunes, 2 de enero de 2012

CLIX. Cabaret Voltaire | Mix-Up

©Rough Trade. UK, 1979.

Cabaret Voltaire were the grim Northern counterpart to Throbbing Gristle's London screech and squallor, and it is well known that these kindred spirits both birthed and pioneered the Industrial music genre.  Whereas TG were willfully repellent and menacing, the Cabs had a more seductive element to there menacing music, which seemed to slither with a subtle sexuality.

This was achieved mostly by their incorporating of funk and dub reggae, which would gradually move to the forefront of their sound as their career progressed.  Another influencial musical factor loomed much larger during this, the initial stages of their discography: German Krautrock.  They would willfully admit a heavy debt to both Can and Faust and the improvisational techniques both bands employed.

With these influences in mind, it's much easier to grasp the mindset and intent of their debut full-length Mix-Up.  What may sound like aimless experimentation for the sake of it, will reveal itself as hypnotic and instinctual, yet disciplined and thought out musical innovation.  This album takes multiple listens to penetrate, but after getting past the initial murk and haze, you'll discover:

1) Another stellar example of their knack for creating compelling cover versions of songs which are excitingly unrecognizable, or at least severally distorted from the original.  In this case it's done to The Seeds' "No Escape."

2) A completely engrossing and absolutely terrifying description of the LSD experience in the harrowing "Heaven and Hell."

3) One of their musical peaks and the only song on the album to feature live drumming, "On Every Other Street" is Cabaret Voltaire firing on all cylinders and engulfs the listener in a wave of lurching, trippy, robotic funk for the paranoid.

Ultimately, while this album does lull in some places and is not a masterpiece, it holds up extremely well when compared to all of their follow-ups and when taken as a whole, is quite an awesome experience.  A landmark of the Industrial and Post-Punk genres, as well as the legendary label Rough Trade, it is well worth seeking out and is also a good place to start with this band, if you aren't a fan of "best of" compilations.  It's also worth noting that Cabaret Voltaire released excellend singles and EPs and some of their best and most well-known material is not included on their studio albums.  So in addition, I would highly suggest tracking down the Living Legends compilation, which collects all the early singles and EPs.


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