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VINE VOICEon 21 October 2002
Books about Cabaret Voltaire, the pioneering Sheffield industrial/indie/electronic group, are rare enough. But this book has an extra appeal. The writer Mick Fish takes you on a journey through some of the darkest times in English life and politics and combines this with the tale of Cabaret Voltaire.
The writer will tell you all about the music scene in Sheffield in the 1980's, from the Human League to ABC. Aligned to this will be the story of the grip the Margaret Thatcher government took hold on Britain, and in particular run down areas like Sheffield in the 80's.
You will read all about the decay, the dark nights, the valiant refusal of a city to be undermined by government, the vicious internal wrangling in the local council and political scene. You may ask is this relevant to the story of Cabaret Voltaire? Well yes it is. The writer worked at the local council and also as a Cabaret Voltaire fan he could see the similarities between the two. The rise of CV in the early 80's which was brutally stamped out by the greedy, stubborn nature of the big money record labels which in essence ruined their career. Mick Fish worked at the council and at the same time he watched as Thatcher took hold of power and left Sheffield to rot and decay. A perfect comparison to what the major record labels did with CV, squeezed the life out of them.
At first glance maybe it won't grab your attention, but get over that, if you're a Cabaret Voltaire fan you should have this already! For others if you were into the music scene of Sheffield in the 80's, this book is a must have. For those of you with an interest in the political side of things, this book may be a worthy read, showing how Thatcher's government tried to squeeze northern cities like Sheffield off the map, through her ignorance of the area and through actions in the local political scene.
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on 28 December 2011
I avoided this book for nearly a decade because I knew - just knew - that it would be a polytechnic melt of worn out music journalist cliché, streams of extraneous adjectives, and ponderous meditations.

Well, I was wrong. Mick Fish can write - and Industrial Evolution: Through the 80s with "Cabaret Voltaire" (Poptomes) manages to tell the (very odd) story of Cabaret Voltaire without falling into the trap that so many music biographers fall into, e.g. weird otaku/ hikikomori obsession. In fact, Fish's other genius move here is that he talks honestly the local government job he held during the story without sounding like either a whinger or a wannabe author. Now, given that he was literally a wannabe author until the book got printed, that's testament to his writing/ perception/ soul.

My only minor criticisms of Industrial Evolution:

1. Fish disses some CV records that were actually pretty good
2. The book doesn't really go off on enough tangents about other acts of the time. Yes, some are mentioned, but I think there was space among the dead trees for more on this type of stuff.

*spawn trashmaster* it's a 9.4 out of 10 from me.
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on 22 October 2011
After ordering the 'redux' version of Peter Care's 'JOHNNYYESNO' film, I wanted to find out more about Cabaret Voltaire. Maybe I'm in a minority, but I actually prefer
their 1980's output to what they released during the late 1970's. The John Robie mix
of 'Yashar' still packs a punch today and influenced the Cabs future sound.

'Industrial Evolution' is a true story written by Mick Fish, who worked in a very tedious job for local government whilst being immersed in the Sheffield music scene
at the same time that Cabaret Voltaire struggled to keep their musical identity after signing to a major record label. Fish's story is fascinating and it also covers the birth of SAF Publishing, who could be described as being the Rough Trade of cultural and music book publishing. SAF have published books about Suicide; Can and Kraftwerk, as well as other mavericks and outsiders.

Any one with an interest in Cabaret Voltaire, Sheffield's music scene; the bad politics and cultural change within the age of greed, should buy this book.
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on 26 December 2009
Maybe the big record companies sucked the life out of CV, of course they could have signed to Factory or Mute or any of the indy's.
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