Cabaret Voltaire | Chance Versus Causality
The official first-time release of Cabaret Voltaire‘s 1979 soundtrack for Chance Versus Causality is finally here. A small excerpt appeared on the phenomenal Sub Rosa compilation An Anthology Of Noise & Electronic Music, Vol. 7 (2013) but this is the whole enchilada, parts 1-7. Mind you, this has circled in unofficial circles on bootlegs and on CDR over the years – and was also previously released on cassette via Industrial Records (1980), but the audio has always been a bit questionable. So now, for its proper release, it’s like hearing this lost soundtrack (two projector 16MM) to the film by Babette Mondini for the very first time. The live line-up for this was the original trio: Richard H. Kirk, Stephen Mallinder and Chris Watson. This will be out on a ltd clear green vinyl and other formats as seen above.
Personally, I’ve never seen the film, though I’d imagine it would have been great to have a Blu-Ray/CD release for this given its obscurity. That said, the sound is definitely of the collage/cut-up era where Watson played a larger part in the formation of the band. It’s tweaked-out voice samples come in and out of focus alongside buzzing industrial sounds and burbling synths. This is not the funky, chunky proto-techno CV, not at all, instead it’s more about tape-play, non-rhythmic experimentation and abstract phrasing all in a pace that sweetly broods the night away.
If you love their classic track Nag Nag Nag you will be able to understand their route towards those penetrating sine waves and blur here. These transmissions purr with dimly lit open frequency that I dare deem true underground music. This shows resemblances to what Throbbing Gristle and The Hafler Trio were doing in and around the same time, and there was a slight bit of crossover (as Watson also collaborated with the latter). It’s post-post rock, not quite punk, not quite full-on industrial which would come later, more a tempered balance between art rock and experimental effects aided by the various machines they employed to make noise.
For split moments you can hear the early buds of beats without blooms. You hear the rev of engines, almost smoke-filled in their delivery, and voices that would later repeat “go to work, go to church, do right” (1984’s Sensoria) – but here they are more murmurs and screetches. I can’t imagine the visual that this accompanies. Darkly tipped garage sonics with a hard edge and a whole lot of promise.