Walls of Kyoto – Cabaret Voltaire live in Tokyo, 1982

This is what really good electro sounded like live in 1982. In those days this was known as industrial music. Cabaret Voltaire was one of the first groups to play like this along with Throbbing Gristle. Lo Fi video art was de rigueur for industrial bands even in the days before MTV.

Check out the video for the early CV track ‘Obsession’. This may be more accessible than the above live track.

I’ll bet Grimes has given Cabaret Voltaire a good listen. Certainly there’s a direct link via Skinny Puppy.

Finally, here’s the video for one of my fave CV tracks, ‘Nag Nag Nag’.

I first heard Cabaret Voltaire on an alternative radio show in the late 70s and a while later saw some of their videos on late-night cable tv. It seemed pretty fresh then because there was not much else around combining techno (at that time disco) beats with noise. In retrospect this was experimental pop music, though at the time it seemed too deviant to be pop. At some point, the subversive deviance of the late 70s/early 80s industrial subculture was recuperated.