19 December 2003
Speaking of the mid-80s, only the other day I was blown-away all over again when listening to Cabaret Voltaire's 'Drain Train' EP from 1986. What was essentially a treading-water package released during their brief period between record labels (Some Bizarre/Virgin to EMI) now sounds even more exciting than ever. Described by Reynold's at the time as "a jungle of jagged jewelled surfaces in which I could wander for centuries" (well it's been 17 years now, Simon - are you still wandering in it?) I remain utterly awe-struck in it's presence. Shorn of the slick-production values of their major label work, '(Shakedown) The Whole Thing' just tears through my senses with it's harsh drum sound, squalling Coltrane-on-smack sax line and overpowering web of grainy digital found-sounds coming at you from every angle. The 'version' and 'dub' mixes add vocoder and ever-increasing levels of abstraction to create a truly psychedelic dub mash-down '80s stylee that even Sherwood at his most violent would probably be a bit scared of. The 'b-sides' 'Menace' and 'Electromotive' are top drawer Cabs too. Now here's something we should all be learning from in 2004.