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4 September 2010

Cabaret Voltaire - 'Eight Crespuscule Tracks' (Giant)

Fast-forward eight years later from Red Mecca, and somehow Cabaret Voltaire have transformed into a full-on dance/club act, though still with some "scary"/dark elements to reference their original sound. This is a weird compilation, originally three songs released on the Crespuscule label, and here filled out to LP length. These original three songs, all titled 'Sluggin Fer Jesus', open side one and do the sampled Evangelical Christian thing -- I hate to sound so cynical, but this is actually a step backwards (if you ask me) from Negativland's 'Christianity is Stupid'. Compared to their early 80s roots, the late 80s Cab Volt has much brighter production and a very strong tendency towards the goofy dance-orientated cop-out. I must sound like I don't care for this record much, which is probably true -- I'm not sure how it ended up in my collection. Side B contains a mess of things - the wrly intoned 'Your Agent Man', and the theme from Shaft are both present. There's still a really heavy emphasis on tape loops and interesting textures, but many of the tapes are vocal samples -- like they've sacrificed mood for the dancefloor aesthetic. In some way though, I think it fails at that too - I can't imagine any of these tracks actually being played in a club. Though the drum sounds are bigger, they still have a tinniness to them that I can't imagine being particularly compelling in a dance club. It feels to me a bit like Red Mecca CV was a band trying to figure themselves out, and Eight Crespuscule Tracks is a band that found it. I'm just not sure if I like where they ended up - maybe I should check out the intermediary journey, as it's bound to be interesting. There are plenty of interesting, experimental elements on this LP to justify it; it's certainly not awful, just somewhat, I dunno, compromised. And the Shaft cover isn't even that bad!

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