This 2013 DVD release has gone under the radar and only came to me via an Amazon recommendation. At first I was sceptical, expecting it to be some sort of poor quality unofficial edition and put off from buying it, but then I checked out the You Tube clips and in fact "Live from London" is of perfectly satisfactory quality. It appears to be from the ITV archives (Central Television) but I certainly don't remember this being broadcast at the time because if I had seen it, back in 1992 (when this performance dates from) I would have LOVED it.
Today it stands up as a document of very late period Cabaret Voltaire. So late, in fact, I was surprised to find out that Stephen Mallinder was still in the band. This must have been recorded around the time of their instrumental Plasticity LP but the material on it (or most of it) is in fact culled not only from "Plasticity" but also the later (and again instrumental) International Language and The Conversation albums. Although Mallinder was credited on those records I think many, myself included, had assumed the lack of vocals was down to the fact he had left the band - evidently not.
The visuals? Well to anyone not familiar with the Cabs' work this video might seem a little odd. A grizzled Pet Shop Boys maybe? The 50 minute 6 song performance is "enhanced" by graphics which detract from the live feel. Not sure if this was the TV company's idea or the band's - either way it probably needed something to liven it up slightly. Richard H. Kirk, who is a genius is, I suspect intentionally, hilariously inanimate. He looks like somebody's dad who's just shambled out of the pub and turned up to play one-finger on the keyboard.
The music? It is the most wonderful Chicago acid influenced house music which stands up against many classics of the day - pity that CV never got the attention they deserved. Other than Mallinder's bass and Kirk's odd press of a key though, I doubt much of it actually IS live but it's still great music - you can treat it like an LP and not bother with the visuals if you like. The performances are interspersed with interviews by Steve Lamacq who, unusually, doesn't manage to spoil things. The duo come across as self-effacing:
Lamacq "How haves your audiences changed over the years?" Mallinder "They've got a lot smaller...I think most of them are dead."
The packaging and sleevenotes? In a word, bog-standard - although I like the digipak format. Whilst the sleevenote writer just about sums up the Cabs, s/he goes on to say "By the late '80s and early '90s the band had begun to wain [sic]." Really whetting the viewers' appetite for this 1992 performance then. Another clue as to how clueless the DVD label, SFM (who they?), are is the front caption "Includes The Message and Plasticity 6 [not exactly their best known hits] and many [i.e. 4!] more [no, Nag Nag Nag then? ;-)]"...