The Vault: Cabaret Voltaire

The Vault: The classics of Electronic Music. The influential and the groundbreaking. The pioneering and the music we grew up on…


I somehow always knew that electronic rumors’ first The Vault article was going to be about Cabaret Voltaire, it had to be really, not only are they highly influential to me, personally, but to every strain of electronic music.

From the early use of synthesizers and tape loops with punk ascetics to pioneering the early dance scene (via being emblazoned on Ferris Buelller’s bedroom wall!), Cabaret Voltaire have done it all…first!

Richard H. Kirk and Stephen Mallinder (initially along with Chris Watson) formed the Cabs in 1973 in Sheffield (ground zero for all things synth) as a way to experiment with sound creation and processing. Strongly influenced by the Dada art movement, they quickly became associated with the burgeoning Industrial scene.

The group’s first (proper) releases were on the legendary Rough Trade Records label and from the early, experimental noise-pop works to the 808 and 303 laden later records Kirk and Mallinder were always ahead of the pack, and, indeed, Kirk was instrumental in the early life of legendary experimental electronic stable Warp Records.

One of the first artists to really embrace using non-musical instruments or found sounds to create music, Cabaret Voltaire influenced all things Experimental & IDM, SynthPop & New Wave and later Bleep House & Dub heavy Techno.

Electronic music just wouldn’t be the same without Cabaret Voltaire.

Here we have a sampler of the Cab’s back catalogue, some obvious, some not. From 1979’s ‘Mix up’, ‘No Escape’ and from the seminal ‘Red Mecca’ (1981), ‘Spread The Virus’. Moving into a more ElectroPoppy area ‘Crackdown’ from ‘The Crackdown’ in 1983 and, probably Cabaret Voltaire’s biggest hit, 1984’s ‘Sensoria’ from the album ‘Micro-Phonies’. ‘I Want You’ comes from their last Rough Trade album ‘The Covenant, The Sword, And The Arm Of The Lord’ (1985) and showing it’s Bleep House influences ‘No Resistance’ is taken from 1991’s ‘Body And Soul’

Cabaret Voltaire – No Escape (zShare) (MediaFire)

Cabaret Voltaire – Spread The Virus (zShare) (MediaFire)

Cabaret Voltaire – Crackdown (zShare) (MediaFire)

Cabaret Voltaire – Sensoria (zShare) (MediaFire)

Cabaret Voltaire – I Want You (zShare) (MediaFire)

Cabaret Voltaire – No Resistance (zShare) (MediaFire)

Whether you’re into SynthPop or Experimental, Dub or Dance, Indie or Industrial, Cabaret Voltaire helped shape the music you love. Much of their back catalogue is still available including a few best of compilations:

Cabaret Voltaire @ Beatport

Cabaret Voltaire @ 7Digital

Cabaret Voltaire @ Amazon

3 comments on “The Vault: Cabaret Voltaire

  1. Love the Cabaret and a nice summary of some of there more well-known works, however, I would have added Nag, Nag, Nag, Colours and Here to Go

  2. @ michael: I know, Nag and Colours were defiantly on the list, as were a few others. I had to limit myself to how many tracks I posted!

  3. Pingback: Billie Ray Martin does Cabaret Voltaire « electronic rumors

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