When it comes down to it, while I can respect the huge influence that Cabaret Voltaire had on the growth of New Wave-y type sounds, the one CV album I still really enjoy listening to is The Conversation. Yup, their ambient techno double album, alternately ignored or hated by fans of their earlier work. While I do like some of their earlier stuff (see below), it’s usually overly long and poorly edited. As a general rule, the vocals are great for the first four minutes and increasingly less-great for the four minutes that follow.
What I like about The Conversation is that it is richly thematic, and the form actually lends itself to being too long and far too stingy with the edit button.
Anyway, things change, stay the same, etc etc and so forth:
Blacworld is one of the many names under which Richard H. Kirk records. The unifying theme of this recording, beyond the aesthetic reliance upon vague hints of panopticonic paranoia, is a muddy darkness. But structurally it shares that same tendency to avoid paring down that seems to run through everything the man touches.
If you travel back twenty years earlier:
It remains a thing, though Kirk‘s more recent work isn’t quite as repetitive. I like “Crackdown”, mind you, but it’s really long.
I like this particular work because it is repetitive and minimal enough in both construction and tone to serve as a perfect landscape soundtrack. Numb trips by train on a dreary Sunday morning are colored with an epic weirdness. While it manages to be both memorable and forgettable – you’d not hum any of these while walking along, but you’d instantly remember any song after a few seconds of play – Subduing Demons in Southern Yorkshire is an interesting signpost in an impressively long career.