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Kora! Kora! Kora! Cabaret Voltaire Mixes John Doran , December 19th, 2008 13:41

This is not to diminish the achievements of New Zealand/Maori dub band Kora, but I'm guessing for a lot of people the interesting name on the sleeve here is going to be Cabaret Voltaire. Even a little bit of digging reveals that the project appears to be a Richard H Kirk remix job with Stephen Mallinder remaining a "silent partner". But then why hasn't this been released with the RHK stamp on it? Or as a Sandoz jam? Or by Al Jabr, Anarchia, Biochemical Dread, Blacworld, Chemical Agent, Citrus, Cold Warrior, Dark Magus, Destructive Impact, Dr. Xavier, Electronic Eye, Extended Family, Frightgod, Future Cop Movies, International Organisation, King Of Kings, Multiple Transmission, Nine Miles Dub, Nitrogen, Orchestra Terrestrial, Outland Assassin, Papadoctrine, Port Au Prince, PSI Punky Dread Allstars, Reflexiv, The Revolutionary Army (Of The Infant Jesus), Robots + Humanoids, Signals Intelligence, The Silent Age, Trafficante, Ubermenschlich, Ubu Rahmen, Wicky Wacky or Vasco de Mento? Why not Acid Horse? Al Jourgensen's got nothing better to do at the moment. Why out of all the names he could have chosen has he picked the Cabs. In reality this probably means that Cabaret Voltaire have been resurrected as an actual band for the first time since 1994 – something that should be feared as much as welcomed.

The only word from Kirk's press bod is that they "have lined up select shows for 2009 – dates, content, format and locations tbc. It's going to be a bit special, that's guaranteed." Well, I acted a bit 'special' on hearing this and nearly rendered the office to matchsticks with a cricket bat. Thinking 'For fuck's sake – if this is a Don't Look Back rendition of Microphonies at Koko, I'm literally going to kill someone.' There's simply nothing wrong doing retro/nostalgia shows if you're a foot note in the history of indie like Teenage Fanclub or Stump but for the two decade career of one of the UK's most forward-looking and uncompromising bands to be sullied like that would be an exercise in seizing ignominy out of the jaws of sublimity. But elsewhere on the net, the offices of Final Word Mastering studios reveal that their recent clients include: "Cabaret Voltaire (Richard H Kirk entrusted us to master their first record for 15 years, and has already booked us for his next)." So it seems like interesting times are afoot for Cabs fans new and old. (I'm not trying to come across like some holier than thou kill joy here either – I'd like a dance to 'Yashar' and 'Sensoria' as much as the next person but that's what encores are for, non?) With the Cabs' dub/dance/industrial sound being stamped all across modern dubstep acts like The Bug and electronic acts such as Ulterior, we need newness; we need modernity. We don't need nostalgia. That's what the records are for. We just need to see whether Mallinder is going to be involved or not. (Web rumours suggest not.)

So apologies to Kora. They must be pissed off with these kind of reviews, eh? Anyway, this is a fine, fine record. Opening track 'Skankenstein' has been hammered to death in the Quietus offices. It's a brutish and efficient acid banger with waspish Roland blats and beeps and howls of dubbed out white noise. It calls to mind Stakker, Renegade Soundwave and other blasts of late 80s leftfield club action. Elsewhere the mighty spectres of Meat Beat Manifesto ('Radio Babylon' incarnation), Nitzer Ebb ('Fun To Be Had' incarnation), Emmanuel Top, Tackhead and Dub Syndicate are raised to do unholy battle. On its own this is a great record, but it's what it prefixes that is a bit of a worry.