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Cabaret Voltaire


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Sheffield, United Kingdom (1973 – 1994)

Cabaret Voltaire were an experimental music band which formed in Sheffield, England in 1973. They originally consisted of Stephen Mallinder (vocals, bass), Richard H. Kirk (guitar, keyboards, sound manipulation) and Chris Watson (sound manipulation, tapes, keyboards). Watson left the group in 1983 and the band continued as a duo until their disbandment in 1994.

Hailing from Sheffield, England, Stephen Mallinder and Richard H. Kirk were the backbone of Cabaret Voltaire, and creators of many of the techniques that fueled the and electronic genres for years. From the droning of Nag Nag Nag to the sublime of Easy Life, with hits like Sensoria in between, the Cabs’ career spanned two decades.

Many recent/current electronic artists owe a great deal of debt to Cabaret Voltaire’s experimental beginnings, in particular Richard H Kirk’s paranoid otherworldly samples, fused with gritty dark looped percussion. Kirk also had several solo outings, with his Sweet Exorcist incarnation opening the doors for Warp Records, in their “bleep” days that were the harbinger for the sonic experimentation of Aphex Twin, Autechre, The Black Dog, and more.

The late 80s and early 90s saw Cabaret Voltaire take an increasingly pop-oriented bent in their music, but many tracks like Easy Life and later, Colours fused hooks with all the excitement of the burgeoning rave scene in the UK.


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