Top 5 records of all time : #4 with Cabaret Voltaire’s Sensoria
Cabaret Voltaire formed in 1973 in Sheffield England and initially comprised of Stephen Mallinder, Richard H. Kirk and Chris Watson. Initially an experimental / noise outfit, the band moved to a more commercial direction in 1983 with the departure of Chris Watson. From here Kirk and Mallinder dabbled with a number of styles, most notably industrial and electro. 1984 of course was a big year for new wave as a number of bands peaked artistically. New Order, Anne Clark or Art of noise who released Who’s Afraid of the Art of Noise in 1984. It was also the year Cabaret Voltaire started to received some recognition from the mainstream. The band released the album Micro-phonies and their 12 mix versions of Sensoria which even charted on the Uk indie chart, as well as getting play in the underground dance scene. There’s no denying that aspects of this song are truly mesmerizing : they combine the electro handclaps of Afrika Bambaataa with the avant-garde synth stabs of Kraftwerk with a real funky edge.
Not only were Cabaret Voltaire pioneering in electronic music but their videos were as well : Check out this fantastic video for Sensoria and the great camera techniques and angles it used which was something not really seen in a music video until this one. Interestingly enough this same camera technique would become somewhat of a staple in some of U2’s video work later on. This video even surpasses the production standards and creativity of what is being done in music videos today. Furthermore, the video have become rather quite a staple with the stop-motion robot dancing and that stunning opening camera move in which the camera is tied to a rope. Still sounding as fresh today as it did in 1984. Cabaret Voltaire even made it to being featured in the movie Ferris Bueller, the later owned a poster of the band’s album of the same year ! The band had taken their name from a nightclub in Zurich, Switzerland that was a center for the early Dada movement. But still, the song Sensoria is one of my favourite of all time : one of the most underrated songs of the 1980’s. And still a great electronic record to listen to. Just be sure to get the 12 mix version that surpassed the orignal song featured in the video 🙂
Cabaret Voltaire : Sensoria [Micro-phonies : 1984 : Virgin and on The original sound of Sheffield 1983-87 : 2001 ]