If you're after a dystopic album to soundtrack your life-and given the state of the world why wouldn't you?- then you could do a lot worse than the new release from Sheffield's post- punk pioneers Cabaret Voltaire and the new one, Shadow Of Fear. The Cabs are now the vehicle of one man, founder and multi- instrumentalist Richard H. Kirk, who recorded the nine songs at the famous Western Works studio in his hometown. Whether it is really Cabaret Voltaire without long standing but now departed partner Stephen Mallinder is open to question I suppose but we'll let that pass. At first having read a couple of reviews and an interview I thought Shadow Of Fear might be a bleak and oppressive listen, impressive but not an album to return to very often but that isn't the case and while it's definitely ominous and industrial it's got dance rhythms and textures and some glints of light among the shade. Mechanised drums, sampled disembodied voices, dashes of acid, some fuzzy, distorted guitars and basslines and layers of noise. It's urgent and has an energy and shows the sixty- four year old Kirk still has something to say and still has the tools to say it with.
Back in 1983 Cabaret Voltaire released Yashar, a12" single on Factory. Yashar and the John Robie remix on the B side is one of the peaks of Factory's early 80s (and that's a crowded field). A record very of its time and ahead of it too.
'There's 70 billion people on earth'
'Where are they hiding?'