Cabaret Voltaire were England’s answer to Suicide, and a key component in the development of industrial and dance music.
Formed in Sheffield with the express aim of making “music without musical instruments,” they had a more political edge inspired by the Dadaists, from whom they took their name – shared with the Zurich nightclub where Dadism began.
In the early 1970s, inspired by Brian Eno’s experimental soundscapes for Roxy Music, telephone engineer Chris Watson began making sounds from oscillators and tape loops.
The group took shape when he was joined by Richard Kirk, adding guitar and clarinet to his abstract sound collages, completing the line-up in 1973 with bass playing Stephen Mallinder.
Mallinder ended up in hospital when their first live show, a characteristically chaotic affair in 1975, turned into a fight with the audience; a not uncommon event in the early days.
Before long punk, with its anything-goes DiY ethos, provided a natural home for the group’s experimental inclinations and they signed to Rough Trade.
This comes from their first release in 1978, a four-track EP called Extended Play that also included a cover of the Velvet Underground’s Here She Comes Now.