Record Review: Cabaret Voltaire – Here To Go UK CD5

Parlophone| UK | CD5 | 1987 | CDR 6166

Cabaret Voltaire: Here To Go UK CD5 [1987]

  1. Here To Go [Extended Mix]
  2. Here To Go [Space Dub]
  3. Here To Go [Single Mix]

It was an exciting time back in 1987. Sure, sure. The Mid-80s Malaise® was at full gallop, but the CD format was beginning to make inroads down the pathway of singles after a tentative year of floating trial balloons. Surely that must have counted for something? I had bought both 12″ singles of Cab Volt’s “Don’t Argue” earlier on, and “Here To Go” was the second single from their “Code” album that saw them finally signed to EMI and the Big Time after a flirtation with Some Bizzare/Virgin that saw the cult act reaching their imperial phase with an indisputable run of cut-up-electro funk singles that kept me in their thrall. I was thrilled to see this ingle on CD5 format. I think I bought this at a record show in Tampa for probably $12-15, which was still a premium for import CD singles at that time.

Following a lo-fi [but exciting] album of 8-bit sampling power in 1985’s “The Covenant, The Sword, And the Arm Of the Lord,” that had dialed back the slickness of their breakthrough 12″, “Sensoria” while simultaneously jamming its foot on the accelerator pedal, the EMI era was all about hitting closer to their powerful but sleek sound of 1984. The title came from a famous quote from Brion Gysin, one of the luminaries who spurred the Sheffield onward from the start. The lyrics were rife with paradoxical couplets setting up the full spectrum of possible response between the poles they defined.

“Sharpen up/Relax
Lighten up/Get serious
Stick with it/Sit back
Live with it/Commit yourself” – “Here To Go”

The “Code” album from whence this came had been produced by Adrian Sherwood and the band so it sounded powerful, if more streamlined to Sherwood’s more dub-heavy On-U Sound ideals. The extended version of the song also had John Robie overdubs and ultimately a remix by François Kevorkian, giving this single a trio of heavy talent in the dance music realm. Did it become a top heavy disaster?

Not really. The fact that Sherwood was producing with EMI holding the whip gave it a sense of restraint to begin with. Robie upped the synth lines with his overdubs and brought in some female backing vocals as he had on “Don’t Argue.” But I would, uh, argue, that S.D. Clarke and Julie Roberts on this single didn’t go over the top into soul queen histrionics as did Dolette McDonald and Tessa Niles [whom Gary Numan fans will recall from this period] on “Don’t Argue.”

Elsewhere the atypically funky guitar from…Bill Nelson [!] added tied into more traditional funk forms that CV always admired. I’d love to ask Nelson how he managed to end up playing with Cab Volt for this album, as his performance sounded like nothing else I’d ever heard from him. The pre-litigious samples were also a bit of fun as what sounded like a sample of The Human Beat Box® Darren Robinson from The Fat Boys was put to use as percussive detail that might have been a Roland 808 cowbell otherwise. So we had the instance of a human being imitating a machine, being sampled and controlled by a machine! Meta enough for you?

The Space Dub was closer to what we would have gotten from an unfettered Sherwood with dropouts and manipulation, though Kevorkian favored a denser sonic space. The 7″ mix was an edit from the extended version, so it was the radio mix, not the LP cut of similar length. This was the better of the two singles form “Code” in that it had less soul added to the mix ex post facto. While sonically clean, it remembered to be hard. Which is why we listened to Cabaret Voltaire in the first place. Unfortunately, that was a lesson that they threw out the window of their toolbox on their next album outing.

– 30 –

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13 Responses to Record Review: Cabaret Voltaire – Here To Go UK CD5

  1. Love this lively review! And whenever I hear the name Caberet Voltaire, I think of Wanna Buy A Bridge, which I name check in this week’s Off Your Radar on my way to some Italian post-punk prog. http://www.offyourradar.com/issues/167-stormy-six/ Might be up your alley!

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Jeremy Shatan – I never bit the Italian Prog doughnut. My friend Ron was all about ItaloProg. I’m more of a Krautrock guy when all is said and done, though there’s some garden variety Prog in my roots. I can’t deny that.

      Like

  2. Echorich says:

    Code is a great album. Layers of Electro/Industrial/Cut-Up Sample Funk that doesn’t disappoint on any level. Don’t Argue is among the best tracks they ever created. Thank You America is like a Nostradamian prediction of today. White Car starts out like a track that could have been on an early Gary Numan album but has that sneer that is so very Cabaret Voltaire.
    It would end up being a very hard act to follow for The Cabs, as their next album Groovy, Laidback and Nasty, has a complete lack of anything redeeming for me.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – The sneer you refer to was critical to Cabaret Voltaire. It was the component missing from “Groovy, Laidback, + Nasty” as Mallinder simply could not do “earnest and euphoric.” Shorn of their all important paranoia, they were utterly adrift! I find it interesting that you were a much bigger fan of House music than I was [to put it mildly] yet we both hated that one. As for “White Car” being a Numanesque song, that reminds me of another song called “White Car” which was actually about Numan! When Yes were recording their “Drama” album, they used to see Numan tooling arounf the area where SARM Studios was in his white car bought with his spoils at the time and wrote that intriguing little haiku of a song about him. At 90 seconds, it was the shortest thing Yes would ever do!

      Like

  3. jsd says:

    I’m so on board with Code and all the associated singles. Fantastic era, shame they never replicated it. (And count me among the house music fans who thought Groovy Laidback etc is a terrible album.)

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      jsd – Well, “Code” was the big pull for the brass ring that reduced the sonic grunge while keeping the paranoia right in our faces. An admirable attempt at shifting units for EMI without throwing away the baby with the bath water. Even if “Code” had sold well, I think we would have gotten “Groovy, Laidback and Nasty.” It was just the zeitgeist. Look at what Shriekback were doing around the same time.

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  4. slur says:

    Actually Code was the lowpoint for me, even when they gave up the CV typical ingredients for Groovy Laid Back etc. it was such a mess; Mal trying to sing, backing singers, shades of themes they handled before and way better, Adrian Sherwood whose exceptional talent got wasted and restricted here with only a few exceptions…. A semi likeable cover showing them as the straight variant of Pet Shop Boys (?).

    There where brilliant releases around that time like ‘Doom Zoom’ on Funky Alternatives, the way later published Kevorkian versions of ‘Sex Money Freaks’, ‘We Got Heart’, ‘Dead Man Shoes’ not to mention the RHK solo releases in 1986 ‘Hipnotic’ etc.
    After the radical ‘Drain Train’ EP this was a too blatant attempt to reach for a wider public and I nearly gave up on them back then. At first I resisted buying those poor singles, ‘Don’t Argue’
    Ha.
    But mellowing out later I collected them one by one, just for the sake of it in case I needed to give them another try, basically the same with the next EMI album.
    Sweet Exorcist and ‘Plasticity’ fully restored my faith in them but I guess the needed the experience and transition phase to reach the final height of the trio of great 90’s albums.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Slur – At the time I was disappointed in the tidiness of “Code.” I’ll go on record as saying that the year of releases prior to this is my Peak Cab Volt. I was astonished by “The Covenant, The Sword, And The Arm Of The Lord.” I still am. But after “Code” I have almost no time for CV.

      “Groovy” was a train wreck. CV had almost avoided the Mid-80s Malaise but succumbed a few years later. The last CV album I kept was the clinical techno of “Body + Soul.” I can just about listen to it. The presence of Mal keeps it afloat. Barely. Ironically, the one great moment on it was the brief instro “Decay” which actually showed some of the Rough Trade era sonic DNA for my ears.

      The instrumental albums that followed lost too much of the reason why I enjoyed CV; the deeply insinuating vocals of Mallinder. I bought “Plasticity” but didn’t keep it for long. I didn’t bother with anything after that except the “Technology” project. Another one sold off quickly.

      I enjoy their early and middle period. Phase three? Not at all. Considering what followed, I now look back on “Code” as the last gasp of CV for me. One brief moment in the sunset. All of the unreleased material that followed on that amazing string of compilations that happened after their demise was pretty great as you pointed out. There’s an album or two of prime CV to be found there.

      Like

  5. negative1ne says:

    Hi mr. monk, glad to see you reviewing so many great releases.
    i can’t even begin to keep up with all of them. i could write a book
    about blancmange, and cabaret voltaire, since i collect both of those
    bands, and have tons of records, cds, and more from them.

    cabaret voltaire has such a long and varied history, and so many phases
    its a real challenge to keep track of and classify them. i like the diversity
    at times, but my intersection with them is basically the early 80’s to the
    early 90’s, although i’ve kept up with all their releases beyond that.
    most of the releases now are archival, live, and compilations though.
    ————
    i will say i prefer the ‘industrial’ era from the early 80’s over all the
    other phases they’ve gone through, peaking with ‘the covenant, the
    sword, and the arm of the lord’ album (which got shortened to ‘the arm
    of the lord’ in the US). i also like ‘code’, although it was a step down
    in intensity, and i guess since i liked house music, i really enjoyed
    ‘groovy, nasty, and laidback’ also.

    at this time, cd’s, and cd-singles were really starting to be used
    for promoting albums, however, there were still LP’s, 12 inches,
    and cassette formats still going on. cabaret voltaire was still
    releasing material on all of them.

    for code : The UK cd, had 2 extra tracks, so i passed over getting
    the US one.
    ——————————————————————
    Hey Hey 3:58
    Here To Go (Little Dub) 4:10

    ‘Hey Hey’ is a nice little upbeat, dark techno track, which fits in nicely
    with the rest of the album. While the little dub of ‘here to go’ is just that.

    It was left off the CD-single because then the total time would be over
    the 20 minute limit that UK singles had to adhere to, in order to qualify
    for charts and sales. It was however, put on the US 12 inch, but not
    on either of the UK 12 inches. there was an even littler dub, that
    was on the b-side of the 7 inch, which is 30 seconds shorter also,
    for completists.

    Also, if you bought the first UK 12 inch, you would get extended
    mix, and the space dub (called the ‘big dub’ in the US). If you
    got the limited 12 inch, you would get the 2 adrian sherwood
    mixes : Live Drum Remix, A-side remix features samples of Dennis Hopper’s
    “Don’t you f***ing look at me!” bit from David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet”.
    It was withdrawn for copyright reasons about a week after release.
    The B-side was the eleven eleven mix, clocking in at 11:11 which
    was great. The US 12 inch would also add the 7 inch remix.
    there was also a cassingle in the UK for the daring with the mixes on it.

    i have a love hate relationship with the dont argue mixes, i would have
    preferred them without the obnoxious back up vocalists on them, although
    the ‘dance’ and ‘dub’ versions from the limited 12 inch are better, but
    not much. i even put up a ‘no soul’ remix i made on ewwtube, where they
    are completely removed. anyways, this single never made it to cd, until
    much later on when the numerous remix compilations came out, and then
    they were on there, along with the other ‘here to go’ mixes.

    anyways, the hidden gem here is the 7 inch release of ‘don’t argue’,
    which on the b-side, had the best remix of it ‘don’t argue (who’s arguing)’,
    which is the true version:
    ——————————–
    A Don’t Argue 3:13
    B Don’t Argue (Who’s Arguing?) 6:12

    no horrible back up vocalists here. just pure industrial sound.
    =================================================================
    If you got any of the latter singles, boxsets, or re-releases – all from 2001
    you could also find:

    Cabaret Voltaire ‎– The Original Sound Of Sheffield ’83 / ’87. Best Of
    —-
    Thank You America (Kevorkian Bonus Beats) 3:39

    Cabaret Voltaire ‎– Remixed
    ——
    Thank You America (Kevorkian Remix) 7:43

    Cabaret Voltaire ‎– Conform To Deform ’82 / ’90. Archive
    and the Just Fascination 2001 12 inch
    ——-
    Sex, Money, Freaks (Kevorkian 12 Mx) 7:35
    Sex, Money, Freaks (Kevorkian Dub) 7:54
    ================================================

    there was plenty of room for more mixes and releases,
    but there was only 2 released, and there were promo
    videos for those tracks also.

    later
    -1

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      negative1ne – Thanks for the facts about the 7″ b-side remix! As much as I was obtaining all Cab Volt 12″ singles from 1981 onward, the 7″ singles were rarely glimpsed out in the wilds. I’ve had “Just Fascination” in my want list for over six years for the non-LP B-side, but have not turned my attention to anything else. I just looked at the 7″ discography and added many things to my want list since there are many 7″ mixes that I should have in the Record Cell. But 7″ singles and Cab Volt didn’t mix well. Half of their singles discography is 12″ only! Too bad that collection of 7″ a-sides [“#7885 (Electropunk To Technopop 1978 – 1985)”] didn’t also come with a second B-side disc. It’ll eventually happen. Also, I had no idea that “Drinking Gasoline” had been released with the all important Cab Volt music video DVD! I’d like to see a 2xDVD with the early Doublevision material on it too, and clips from their EMI era [never happen unless EMI do their own comp], but I’d pay anything to get the “I Want You” video [especially the 12″ version which I have never seen] on a DVD. Though those videos are so stroboscopic [massive interframe delta just KILLS video compression codecs] that they would probably look bad even on a professionally made DVD. My homeburn of “Gasoline” is not brilliant though I should have made a dual layer DVD. That would have helped. Maybe DL DVD-R wasn’t available in 2005?

      Here is a list of the CV stuff in my Discogs collection. I used to have some other things that I stupidly sold off when buying the CD of in the mid-80s. Not a complete collection, but complete enough for my purposes.

      1. Box 1 CD
      2. Box 2 CD
      3. Listen Up With Cabaret Voltaire CD
      4. Micro-Phonies CD
      5. No Name, No Slogan – Acid Horse CD5
      6. The Crackdown CD
      7. Chantons Noël – Ghosts Of Christmas Past – Various LP [+ CV]
      8. Mighty Reel – Various cassette [+ CV]
      9. Crackdown / Just Fascination 12”
      10. The Dream Ticket 12”
      11. Yashar 12”
      12. James Brown 12”
      13. Sensoria 12”
      14. Shake It Right – Six Sed Red 12” [remix by CV]
      15. Drinking Gasoline 12”
      16. Drinking Gasoline CD
      17. I Want You 12”
      18. If You Can’t Please Yourself You Can’t, Please Your Soul – Various LP [+ CV]
      19. The Covenant, The Sword And The Arm Of The Lord CD
      20. Razormaid Chapter M.6 – Various LP [“Kickback” razormaid mix]
      21. The Drain Train 12”
      22. Code US CD
      23. Don’t Argue 12”
      24. Here To Go CD5
      25. Here To Go USP 12”
      26. Here To Go Live Drum Jacknife Remix By Adrian Sherwood 12”
      27. Razormaid – 3rd Anniversary Issue – Various LP [“Sensoria” razormaid mix]
      28. Eight Crepuscule Tracks CD
      29. Salvation (Original Soundtrack) – Various [+ CV]
      30. Hypnotised CD5
      31. Keep On CD5
      32. Keep On remix 12”
      33. The Living Legends… CD
      34. Razor…Maid! How Slow Can You Go? – Various [“Runaway” razormaid mix]
      35. Body And Soul CD
      36. The Drain Train / Live In Sheffield 19 Jan 82 CD
      37. What Is Real CD5
      38. Gridlock CD-4 – Various [“Smooth” razormaid mix]
      39. Volume Five – Various CD [“Low Cool” remix]
      40. Radiation (BBC Recordings 84-86) CD
      41. Conform To Deform ’82 / ’90. Archive CD
      42. The Original Sound Of Sheffield ’83 / ’87. Best Of CD
      43. Metal Dance (Industrial / Post-Punk / EBM Classics & Rarities 80-88) – Trevor Jackson [“Seconds Too Late”]
      44. Death Disco (Mojo Presents A Compendium Of Post-Punk Grooves) – Various CD [“Sly Doubt”]
      45. Electronic Sound Covers Collection Volume.02 – Various CD [“Crackdown” cover by Billie Ray Martin w/Mal]

      Liked by 1 person

    • postpunkmonk says:

      negative1ne – I’m with you on the “Don’t Argue” BVs. They crossed a line, there. I only found out about the bonus trax on the UK CD of “Code” years after having the US edition. Let me say that it felt weird buying a domestic [US] Cab Volt CD at the time! I still need a copy with the two extra trax. I managed to get the entire “Conform To Deform” collection [including the box!] one disc at a time through the great La La website in 2006! I could not believe my luck there. All of the collected material reissues with released and unreleased mixes from their mid-period were like gifts from beyond the pale. Since I didn’t care for too much by them [or should I just say “him?”] from 1990 onward, these collections were treasured. So there were EMI videos for “Thank You America” and “Sex/Money/Freaks?” I still say that EMI will eventually throw them out there though the day of the DVD has passed. Damn it.

      I see both “Don’t Argue” clips are on iTunes [!] along with “Hypnotised” [daniel miller mix] for what it’s worth. To me, nothing. Though I still need that “Don’t Argue” remix 12″. It never turned up anywhere near me so it’ll be a mail order thing. Sigh. Maybe.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. slur says:

    And while we’re at it, there seems to be a new release and re-release campaign to come incl. a limited (?) release of ‘Chance Versus Causality’ finally; https://www.lexermusic.com/cabaret-voltaire

    Like

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