Cabaret Voltaire (band)

Cabaret Voltaire (band)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Cabaret Voltaire
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Sheffield, Yorkshire, England
Genre = Industrial Post-punk Alternative dance
Years_active = 1973-1994
Label = Industrial Records, Rough Trade, Some Bizzare/Virgin, Factory Records
Associated_acts = Acid Horse Electronic Eye Hafler Trio Sandoz Sweet Exorcist
Past_members = Richard H. Kirk Stephen Mallinder Chris Watson

Cabaret Voltaire were a British music group from Sheffield, England. [ [ Mute records historic website] ]

Initially composed of Stephen Mallinder, Richard H. Kirk and Chris Watson, the group was named after the Cabaret Voltaire, a nightclub in Zurich, Switzerland that was a center for the early Dada movement.

Their earliest performances were dada-influenced performance art, but Cabaret Voltaire later developed into one of the most prolific and important groups to blend pop with dance music, techno, dub house and experimental electronic music.


The band formed in Sheffield in 1973 and experimented widely with sound creation and processing, these early experiments are documented on the 3CD set "Methodology" (Mute 2002). They eventually turned to live performance. In one incident, Mallinder was hospitalised with a chipped backbone after the band had objects thrown at them. However the arrival of punk rock brought a more accepting audience for their industrial, electronic sound and they were championed by Sheffield punk fanzine Gunrubber edited by Paul Bower. Fact|date=September 2008

In 1978, Cabaret Voltaire signed to Rough Trade Records. With Rough Trade they released several highly acclaimed musically experimental singles and EPs, including "Extended Play", "Nag Nag Nag" and "Three Mantras", and albums such as "The Voice of America" in 1980 and the widely-hailed "Red Mecca" in 1981.

During this time they toured Europe, Japan and America without major-label support, releasing "Hai!", a live album recorded in Japan, in 1982.

In 1983, coinciding with the departure of Watson (who went on to found The Hafler Trio with Andrew M. McKenzie before becoming a BBC sound engineer and then a soloist), Cabaret Voltaire decided consciously to turn in a more commercial direction, with the album "The Crackdown" on Some Bizzare / Virgin Records. This decision was rewarded with the album reaching No. 31 in the UK - over 60 places higher than their previous (and only) chart placing. In 1984, the singles "Sensoria" and "James Brown" from the album "Micro Phonies" (also on Virgin) charted on the independent music charts as well as getting heavy play in the underground dance scene.

In 1987, the band released "Code", followed by the house-influenced "Groovy, Laidback & Nasty" in 1990. A series of completely instrumental works under the Cabaret Voltaire name were released on Instinct Records in 1993 and 1994. The last CV release to feature Mallinder singing is the ethno-techno single, "Colours" in 1990.

Since the mid-late '80s, Kirk has begun a solo career under several names, including Electronic Eye and Sandoz, while Mallinder has relocated to Perth, Australia and records with a collaborator under the name Sassi & Loco and more recently in another collaborative effort the Kuling-Bros. Mallinder also helps run his own Offworld Sounds label and contributed to synths and programming on The Happy Mondays' singer Shaun Ryder's solo album "Amateur Night at the Big Top".

In 1996, Mallinder reported to "Inpress" magazine's Andrez Bergen that "I do think the manipulation of sound in our early days - the physical act of cutting up tapes, creating tape loops and all that - has a strong reference to Burroughs and Gysin; in terms of the Dada thing, there's a similarity between the Dadaists' reaction to the bourgeoisie and the war and our own position - we felt alienated from popular culture ourselves. I think those kinds of attitudes become embedded within you, but I'm not sure how it relates now..." ["Vintage Cab Sav", Andrez Bergen. "Zebra", "Inpress", 1996.]

Hopes of a Cabaret Voltaire reunion were raised when Kirk dropped hints in the late '90s, the most significant being in the notes of a reissue of "Radiation", where Kirk says he is working on new CV material due to be released soon. This never happened. In a special 'Depeche Mode/History of Electro-pop' edition of "Q Magazine", Kirk suggests he is still considering resurrecting the CV name but this time he plans to "Get some young people involved".

Band members

* Stephen Mallinder - vocals, bass (1973-1994)
* Richard H. Kirk - guitars, keyboards, tapes (1973-1994)
* Chris Watson - keyboards, tapes (1973-1981)


tudio Albums

*"Mix-Up" (October 1979) #12 UK Indie
*"The Voice of America" (July 1980) #3 UK Indie
*"Red Mecca" (August 1981) #1 UK Indie
*"2x45" (May 1982) #1 UK Indie, #98 UK
*"The Crackdown" (August 1983) #31 UK
*"Johnny Yesno" (November 1983) #8 UK Indie
*"Micro Phonies" (November 1984) #69 UK
*"The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord" (October 1985) #57 UK
*"Code" (October 1987)
*"Groovy, Laidback and Nasty" (June 1990)
*"Body and Soul" (March 1991)
*"Plasticity" (October 1992)
*"International Language" (June 1993)
*"The Conversation" (July 1994)

Live Albums

*"Live at the Y.M.C.A." (February 1980) #2 UK Indie
*"Live at the Lyceum" (1981 cassette) #14 UK Indie
*"Hai! (Live In Japan)" (October 1982) #5 UK Indie
*"Radiation (BBC Recordings 84-86)" (2001) (Sessions)

Compilation Albums

*"Cabaret Voltaire 1974-1976" (1981 cassette)
*"Golden Moments Of Cabaret Voltaire" (1987) (Compilation)
*"Listen Up With Cabaret Voltaire" (1990) (Compilation)
*"The Living Legends" (1990) (Compilation)
*"" (June 1992)
*"Remixed" (2001)
*"The Original Sound of Sheffield '83/'87" (2001) (Compilation)
*"Conform to Deform '82/'90" (2002) (Compilation)
*"The Original Sound of Sheffield '78/'82" (2002) (Compilation)
*"Methodology '74/'78: The Attic Tapes" (2002) (Demos)


*"Extended Play" EP (tracks: Talkover/Here She Comes Now/Do The Mussolini (Headkick)/The Set Up) (July 1978)
*"Baader-Meinhof/Sex in Secret" on "A Factory Sample" (January 1979)
*"Nag Nag Nag" (April 1979)
*"Silent Command/Chance Versus Causality" (October 1979) UK #10 Indie
*"Three Mantras" (January 1980) UK #10 Indie
*"Seconds Too Late" (September 1980) UK #8 Indie
*"Sluggin' For Jesus/Your Agent Man" (March 1981)
*"Eddie's Out/Walls of Jericho" (July 1981) UK #6 Indie "(initial copies included free 7" single "Jazz the Glass"/"Burnt to the Ground")"
*"Fools Game (Sluggin' fer Jesus part 3)/Gut Level" (1982)
*"Yashar (Remix)" (1982) UK #6 Indie
*"Crackdown/Just Fascination" (double A side 12") (July 1983)
*"Just Fascination"/"Empty Walls" (7") (July 1983) #94 UK
*"The Dream Ticket"/"Safety Zone" (November 1983)
*"Sensoria" (October 1984) #96 UK
*"James Brown" (January 1985) #100 UK
*"Drinking Gasoline" Virgin (April 1985)
*"I Want You" (October 1985) #91 UK
*"Shakedown" (March 1986)
*"The Drain Train" (July 1986) #5 UK Indie
*"Don't Argue" (February 1987) #69 UK
*"Here To Go" (September 1987) US #16 Hot Dance Music/Club Play, UK #88
*"Hypnotised" (December 1989) #66 UK
*"Keep On" (June 1990) #55 UK
*"Easy Life" (October 1990) #61 UK
*"Colours" (January 1991)
*"What Is Real" (April 1991)
*"Percussion Force" (September 1991)
*"I Want You/Kino '92" (February 1992)
*"Nag Nag Nag" (October 2002)

elected Compilation appearances

*"A Factory Sample" (1978)
*"C81" (1981)
*"A Diamond Hidden in the Mouth of a Corpse" (1985)
*"Salvation! Original soundtrack" (1987)
*"" (1995)
*"Redefining the Prologue (2006)

Related Projects

*Acid Horse featuring Al Jourgensen, Chris Connelly and Bill Rieflin with Stephen and Richard.
*Hafler Trio featuring Chris.
*Sandoz featuring Richard.
*Sweet Exorcist featuring DJ Parrot and Richard.
*The Pressure Company featuring Richard.
*Xon featuring Richard.

External links

* [ Unofficial Cabaret Voltaire site with extensive discography]
* [ article about Cabaret Voltaire from "The Wire" magazine]


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