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on 16 November 2013
just played the cd's will watch the dvd's next but can already say that the work richard h kirk has done to beef up
the sound breathes new life into these fantastic cd's. I remember after 1985 when I ran out of radio stations to listen
to electro funk and I needed those raw funky beats it was the Cabaret voltaire I turned to and tackhead. Tackhead released
a boxset recently costs more and with less than half the amount you get with this.I have to say that this collection of cd's
is without doubt the best I have purchased and I have a very large collection. I know the dvds are going to be excellent
but the cd's alone are well worth the asking price and of course the artwork is as ever is priceless.
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on 13 November 2013
Ok, call me biased as I have been the biggest Cabs fan of all their stuff since first hearing Sensoria which blew my mind back in school back in the eighties but this release is truly great. Yes I originally bought the vinyl back then, then the CD releases of each album and then everything I could get my hands on since (including RH Kirk's solo stuff) but and I am sure others will agree I just had to have this and in my opinion it is well worth the money. Beautifully packaged with a real quality feel about it and that most iconic of Cabs images on the front, its like a work of art. As for the music well what can I say that has not already been said. The remastering in my opinion is perfect, everything sounds really clean and not overproduced with a rich wonderful depth to the sound just adding to the fact that the music is still so relevant and fresh thirty years on and never sounding better. This period when Cabaret Voltaire were signed to Virgin was the time when I first came across them and is a great place to start if you are new to the group ( but perhaps check out the re-issues of the albums individually before shelling out on the boxset ). The music, electronic, twisted dance whatever you want to call it was and still is amazing and like nothing you will ever hear and I was lucky enough to work with Mr Kirk briefly back in the nineties (an incredible experience I will never forget) and all I can say is the Cabs are one of the greatest electronic bands ever, whose huge influence on electronic/dance music should never be forgotten.
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The post-Rough Trade work of Cabaret Voltaire has been overlooked somewhat of late, so it was good to learn that Mute Records were releasing this 8 disc box set of their period with Virgin Records. It's a pity though, that their two subsequent LPs, for EMI, couldn't have been included as well since that would have "completed the set" of their major label period before the group reverted to releasing music on independent labels in the early 1990s and then more or less disappearing altogether. And not forgetting "The Drain Train" EP, which was released in between the Virgin/EMI changeover but would have fitted in very well sonically with the rest of the material here. Never mind - I understand there are legal reasons why it is easier for Mute and Richard H Kirk (who is curating the project) to re-issue the Virgin LPs only at this time, so this is an observation rather than a criticism. What is on here, will, I think be more than enough to be going on with.

THE ORIGINAL DISCS: I found these somewhat underwhelming - the track listings are identical to the previous CD copies. The remastered sound is OK but does not, I think, justify a re-purchase. The Cabs' albums of this period are all ground-breaking, but could not perhaps be called classics. There's not much to choose between them. "The Crackdown" - the major label debut which saw them make the transition from independent to major, sounds like progress rather than watering down - unlike so many other indie bands that seemed happy to take the cash. It contains the wonderful bonus track "Theme from Doublevision" which sounds like it could have been taken from Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Possibly - though it's a matter of personal choice - "Microphonies" is CV's best album from the period and the one that set the template not just for their own sound, but would go on to influence countless house and techno artists into the 1990s and beyond. Retrospectively, however, it is actually the "Drinking Gasoline/Gasoline in Your Eye" CD/DVD 2 disc set (a set within boxset!) which is the best thing in this collection. Industrial and uncompromising, "Drinking Gasoline" was more of an EP: 4 tracks on 4 sides of 12" vinyl which would shape the dance music of the next two decades. Joey Beltram, for example, was surely clocking these basslines before he made "Energy Flash"? The DVD is the old "Gasoline in Your Eye" VHS available for the first time on this format. It serves not only as a great collection of their songs but also a lesson in video making. Cabaret Voltaire (and director Peter Care) created a style of video making "fast cuts and degraded images" using primitive technology that was absorbed into the mainstream of pop video making. Finally (amongst the previously released titles), chronologically speaking, is "The Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord". Perhaps the highest budget of all, it is the record that really shows the Cabs' use of voice sampling, used throughout their career, in its best light. Nearly all records that tried to ape this approach got it sooo badly wrong - "We got a hot one for ya"/"keep this frequency clear", etc. On the downside, "Covenant" sounds a lot more like The Art of Noise than I remember, probably because Kirk and Mallinder were using the same (expensive) synths by then.

THE BONUS DISCS: Of most interest initially perhaps is the previously unreleased "Earthshaker" soundtrack. Whilst it's ok - worth having for big fans such as myself - a lot of the tracks are disappointingly familiar, being remixes/versions from the "Microphonies" period. Then, there's a CD of 12" A and B sides. Again this is fine, although it bears a passing similarity to Original Sound of Sheffield: B. Finally, there's a live DVD. Whilst better audio-wise than some other CV live recordings, the visuals aren't great. The resolution is probably better than expected - but nevertheless murky and shot from a single camera (although the Hammersmith Palais gig is enhanced by some visuals). It doesn't exactly make for a great viewing experience. The live performances are great though.

THE PRESENTATION/PACKAGING: This review is for the CD-only box set which sadly the record company have seen to put in the same box and packaging as the special edition (the latter includes the vinyls as well). Mute's publicity says the CD box set has "room" for the LPs but hey, if I'd wanted the LPs, I'd have bought the special edition. This box is too big for 8 CDs. There's a 12" booklet containing images, album artwork and sleeve notes by Richard Kirk (good), and an "essay" by Phil Barnes (yawn - should have got Richard to do ALL the blurb). The CDs themselves are packaged in gatefold cardboard slip cases - the original albums also have booklets and revised artwork.

THE VERDICT: I love Cabaret Voltaire but I can't help but feeling slightly underwhelmed. "Collected Works" is not, at time of writing, exactly a good value re-issue package (and there ARE many good value box sets out there) and as a fan, there's nothing, apart from the Drinking Gasoline CD/DVD package (which should hopefully see a stand-alone release at some point), that has a "must have" feel about it. In comparison to the recent Johnny Yesno Redux [DVD] [2011] and Cabaret Voltaire-Live From London (region 0) [DVD] [2013] [NTSC] releases, "8385" disappoints slightly. Overall though, it's four stars from me - CV deserve the re-issue treatment and whilst this package doesn't quite hit the mark it's a valiant effort to curate the works of one of electronic music's most influential yet underrated bands.
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on 17 February 2014
This music was the backdrop to my upbringing: living in Sheffield and the desire for new music - music to dance to. Had these already on vinyl but this box set of cds, dvd and booklet was well worth the money. Nearly all the music from 1983-85 and it has been well worth revisiting again. But the big bonus was the dvd of 'Gasoline In Your Eye' - now I can get to watch it anytime, anywhere.
If this is your first time for this band then buy the 'The Orginal Sound Of Sheffield: '83 / '87' for this box set is for those who know the band well.
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on 16 December 2013
Firstly I have the original vinyl of The Crackdown, Micro Phonies, Drinking Gasoline & Covenant the Sword and the Arm of The Lord. All fantastic...and all played to death. So brought C.D. versions & oh! dear they simply didn'tsound right, thin, empty & gutless. So when I first heard about these re-issues / remastering I was both looking forward to them & a bit concerned. So pleased my concerns were unfounded, this set is simply fantastic! The music has been given the respect it deserves. The sound has depth, warmth & plenty of punch. Then the other C.D.'s, the 12" mixes here sound better than ever & the "Earthshaker" C.D. I found really fascinating hearing early versions or a different take on familiar tunes. Then if that's not enough there's the "completisum" card to download four tracks, nice touch. Then the DVD's Gasoline in your Eye was great to watch again.I havan't had time to watch the other one with two live shows so can't comment on that yet. The book that comes with it was a nice read with great photos & original album artwork in 12" size. Again a nice touch. All in all a very well put together set. I wait in anticipation for the next Cabs box set in 2014... I WANT YOU!
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