Cabaret Voltaire

Cabaret Voltaire are a British music group from Sheffield, England.
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 centre 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 triple album CD set "Methodology" (Mute 2002). They eventually turned to live performance. At thier first ever gig in 1975, 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 of local band 2.3, and Adi Newton of The Future/Clock DVA.

In 1978, Cabaret Voltaire signed to Rough Trade Records. With Rough Trade they released several 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 "Red Mecca" in 1981.
Chris Watson left the group in late 1981, for a job in television. He went on to found The Hafler Trio with Andrew M. McKenzie before becoming a BBC sound engineer and has released many field recording works.
During this time they toured Europe, Japan and America without major record label support, releasing "Hai!", a live album recorded in Japan, in 1982.

In 1983, 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 number 31 in the UK Albums Chart - over 60 places higher than their previous (and then only) chart placing. In 1984, the singles "Sensoria" and "James Brown" from the album Micro Phonies (also on Virgin) charted on the UK Indie Chart, as well as getting 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 Plastex/Instinct/Apollo between 1992 and 1994. The last Cabaret Voltaire release to feature Mallinder singing was on the album "Body And Soul" in 1991.
Since the mid-late 1980s, Kirk began a solo career under several names, including Electronic Eye and Sandoz, while Mallinder relocated to Perth, Australia and recorded with a collaborator under the name Sassi & Loco and, more recently, in another collaborative effort the Kuling-Bros. Mallinder also helped run his own Offworld Sounds label and contributed to synthesizer and programming on Shaun Ryder's solo album Amateur Night at the Big Top. Mallinder has since returned to the UK, and records as part of Wrangler, Creep Show and in a number of collaborations.

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..."
Hopes of a Cabaret Voltaire reunion were raised when Kirk dropped hints in the late 1990s, the most significant being in the notes of a reissue of Radiation, but this never happened. In a special 'Depeche Mode/History of Electro-pop' edition of Q magazine, Kirk suggested he is still considering resurrecting the Cabaret name, but this time he plans to "Get some young people involved". Kirk has used the Cabaret Voltaire name since 2009 in collaborations with Kora, The Tivoli, and in the "Johnny YesNo Redux" reissue.

In 2014, Richard H. Kirk resurrected the Cabaret Voltaire moniker live for a solo performance at the Atonal Festival in Berlin, playing brand-new material only. The overwhelming success of that show led to a string of live appearances around Europe since 2015 and a return to full activity of Cabaret Voltaire in the solo persona of Richard H. Kirk with the release of the "Shadow Of Fear" album in November 2020.


none Cabaret Voltaire - Cabaret Voltaire album art Cabaret Voltaire Cabaret Voltaire(Cass) Cabvolt Publications L.t.d. none UK 1978 Sell This Version
LTM 1041, LTD 1041 Cabaret Voltaire - Mix-Up album art Cabaret Voltaire Mix-Up (Album) Rough Trade LTM 1041, LTD 1041 France 1979 Sell This Version
IRC 35 Cabaret Voltaire - 1974 - 1976 album art Cabaret Voltaire 1974 - 1976 (Album) Industrial Records IRC 35 UK 1980 Sell This Version
ROUGH 7 Cabaret Voltaire - Live At The Y.M.C.A. 27.10.79 album art Cabaret Voltaire Live At The Y.M.C.A. 27.10.79 (Album) Rough Trade ROUGH 7 UK 1980 Sell This Version
200 185 Cabaret Voltaire - The Voice Of America album art Cabaret Voltaire The Voice Of America (Album) Rough Trade 200 185 France 1980 Sell This Version
COPY 002 Cabaret Voltaire - Live At The Lyceum album art Cabaret Voltaire Live At The Lyceum (Album) Rough Trade, Rough Tapes COPY 002 UK 1981 Sell This Version
ROUGH US 15 Cabaret Voltaire - Red Mecca album art Cabaret Voltaire Red Mecca (Album) Rough Trade ROUGH US 15 US 1981 Sell This Version
ROUGH 42 Cabaret Voltaire - 2X45 album art Cabaret Voltaire 2X45 (Album) Rough Trade ROUGH 42 UK 1982 Sell This Version
ROUGH US24 Cabaret Voltaire - Hai! album art Cabaret Voltaire Hai! (Album) Rough Trade ROUGH US24 US 1982 Sell This Version
DVR 1, RTD 21 Cabaret Voltaire - Johnny Yesno (The Original Soundtrack From The Motion Picture) album art Cabaret Voltaire Johnny Yesno (The Original Soundtrack From The Motion Picture) (Album) Doublevision DVR 1, RTD 21 Germany 1983 Sell This Version
14C 262 VG 50005 Cabaret Voltaire - The Crackdown album art Cabaret Voltaire The Crackdown (Album, EP) Virgin, Some Bizzare 14C 262 VG 50005 Greece 1983 Sell This Version
TCV 2 Cabaret Voltaire - Micro-Phonies album art Cabaret Voltaire Micro-Phonies (Album) Virgin, Some Bizzare TCV 2 UK 1984 Sell This Version
CV3 Cabaret Voltaire - The Covenant, The Sword And The Arm Of The Lord album art Cabaret Voltaire The Covenant, The Sword And The Arm Of The Lord (Album) Virgin, Some Bizzare CV3 New Zealand 1985 Sell This Version
PCS 7312 Cabaret Voltaire - Code album art Cabaret Voltaire Code (Album) Parlophone, Parlophone PCS 7312 New Zealand 1987 Sell This Version
EMCJ (L) 7922491 Cabaret Voltaire - Groovy, Laidback And Nasty album art Cabaret Voltaire Groovy, Laidback And Nasty (Album, EP) Parlophone, Parlophone, Parlophone, Parlophone EMCJ (L) 7922491 South Africa 1990 Sell This Version
TWI944 Cabaret Voltaire - Body And Soul album art Cabaret Voltaire Body And Soul (Album) Les Disques Du Crépuscule TWI944 UK 1991 Sell This Version
CVCD4, 0777 7 86662 2 6 Cabaret Voltaire - Technology: Western Re-Works 1992 album art Cabaret Voltaire Technology: Western Re-Works 1992 (Album) Virgin, Virgin, Virgin CVCD4, 0777 7 86662 2 6 Europe 1992 Sell This Version
TWI 975-2 Cabaret Voltaire - Plasticity album art Cabaret Voltaire Plasticity (Album) Plastex TWI 975-2 Belgium 1992 Sell This Version
EX-264-4 Cabaret Voltaire - International Language album art Cabaret Voltaire International Language (Album) Plastex EX-264-4 US 1993 Sell This Version
AMB 4934 CD Cabaret Voltaire - The Conversation album art Cabaret Voltaire The Conversation (Album) Apollo AMB 4934 CD Belgium 1994 Sell This Version
CDMRED 220 Cabaret Voltaire - Live At The Hacienda. '83 / '86; 11.08.83 / 19.02.86. album art Cabaret Voltaire Live At The Hacienda. '83 / '86; 11.08.83 / 19.02.86. (Album) Cherry Red, Cherry Red Films CDMRED 220 Europe 2002 Sell This Version
SHIVA 16CD Cabaret Voltaire - Kora! Kora! Kora! (The Cabaret Voltaire Versions) album art Kora, Cabaret Voltaire Kora, Cabaret Voltaire - Kora! Kora! Kora! (The Cabaret Voltaire Versions) (Album) Shiva Records SHIVA 16CD UK 2009 Sell This Version
none Cabaret Voltaire - Archive (Live At The Town & Country Club, London 12th February 1986) album art Cabaret Voltaire Archive (Live At The Town & Country Club, London 12th February 1986)(11xFile, AAC) Intone none UK 2009
none Cabaret Voltaire - Archive (Live At The Town & Country Club, London 11th February 1986) album art Cabaret Voltaire Archive (Live At The Town & Country Club, London 11th February 1986)(9xFile, AAC) Intone none UK 2009
none Cabaret Voltaire - Archive (Live At The Leadmill, Sheffield 30th November 1984) album art Cabaret Voltaire Archive (Live At The Leadmill, Sheffield 30th November 1984)(9xFile, AAC) Intone none UK 2009

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August 19, 2020
New album called Shadow Of Fear (first studio album in 26 years!) is out on 20th November on legendary Mute Records!


February 16, 2020
edited 11 months ago
Mal -"We all used to be skinheads, which is how we first came to know each other..We were brought up on Soul and Reggae ..which probaby explains our preoccupation with rhythm.. you could call us an experimental Skinhead band, but I really don't like to put labels on it" from a interview in Masterbag #12, 1982.


May 24, 2017
I love all their phases, but that's a function of liking techno and synthpop, as well as experimental and industiral. Somehow they covered it all, but the one common factor is a level of complexity and funk, that evolves through a track, that was always a few steps ahead of everyone else. Its no wonder that they were hugely influential to 90s trance (especially goa trance) as well as Underworld, etc.


June 1, 2016
How do you sum up Cabaret Voltaire? Well, there's something for everyone..... Some like the early, some like the middle and some like the latter phase of this genius. Me, I love it all, I never tire of it, I'm always digging and delving, back and forth and it doesn't matter what mood I'm in, I'll always find something that'll put a smile on my face and a tear in my eye. A brilliant, insurmountable body of work :-)


August 13, 2015
having been a massive fan of the cabs from a very early date i have to agree with some and not agree with others from hearing headkick in a club called eric in liverpool in 1978 i was hooked the early stuff was raw and very dark but with a crazy uplifting beat i agree with richard h kirk when he says red mecca was the album that best described the time but i also think voice of america as stunning in its concept. then came for me the two massive highlights of the early cabs yashar and three mantras both records were 15 years ahead of their time and nobody has or can better them as for the later stuff i think the last one i can say caught me was i want you and sensoria due to the fantastic beats .
going back to the early days seeing the cabs a few times i have to admit some of the gigs were helped with a chemical inducement lol
i saw them at the town and country club in the late 70s and retford porterhouse in the early 80s both gigs left me wanting more .
cabaret voltaire have lifted british music to heights it was struggling with without realising they did it .
if it wasnt for the cabs british dance music would not be what it is sampling cut ups etc .
so when people like the press start firing what did the achieve at you tell them everything that is good about music can be foumnd in a cabs record collection


January 8, 2014
edited over 7 years ago
Even though the band approved, I'm not a fan of the album cover redesigns in the box set. Should have gone with the originals, as shown in the nice booklet.


June 7, 2013
Cabaret Voltaire treated harshly by its own country's music press at the time. However with each record, each was different from the other. I would put them along with New Order in that they were releasing music that was stark, brilliant produced. I love the mid 80s period, but they were a band that could not stand still. Some bands carry on to long(u2), however the cabs left a legacy of elecronica that will never be surpassed


December 16, 2012
edited over 8 years ago
No, no, no!
I love early Cabs music... experimental... near, but better then Throbbing Gristle, ClockDVA, TestDept... and so on.
But the latter records, such as Groovy, Laidback and Nasty, and Body and Soul. Please avoid this melting techno phase.


August 27, 2012
I owe Sheffield an incalculable debt of gratitude for nurturing both Cabaret Voltaire and Hula, among countless other things. Here's to Drinking Gasoline, Poison and other feats of sonic brilliance captured in wax. Where do we get such men?


March 7, 2006
edited over 15 years ago
I can't believe these guys haven't received some honorary award or recognition for them basically starting the whole Sheffield experimental/techno scene. With their 'Western Works' studio being used by just about everyone who was anyone in Sheffiled during the early Acid/Rave years and beyond. And, if that's not enough, they basically invented the art of 'sampling', using sources for music other than conventional instruments/synths. Legends in their lifetimes.

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