Cabaret Voltaire have announced the first new album release in over 20 years. The new album Shadow Of Fear is set for release via Mute on the 20th of November, 2020.
The latest LP is due out 26 years after the pioneering avant-garde and electronic music group’s last studio album, The Conversation, came out way back in 1994.
Originally active between 1973-1994, Cabaret Voltaire featured Chris Watson until 1981 and Stephen Mallinder until 1994 . The group was inactive for 20 years until, with Kirk as the sole remaining member, made his 2014 performance at Berlin’s Atonal festival as Cabaret Voltaire.
Listen to ‘Vasto’, the first sampling of what to expect from the forthcoming new album below:
Shadow Of Fear is Cabaret Voltaire’s first release with Richard H Kirk as the sole member of the band and the result is an album that defies categorization. The tone and personality of Cabaret Voltaire is ingrained into its core as it dances across techno, dub, house, 1970s Kosmische, and general esoteric explorations coupled with mangled vocal samples. It’s a voyage through the history of electronic music that arrives at a new destination.
Cabaret Voltaire has always been a group ahead of their time, even prescient at times, and this album carries on that evolution.
“The album was finished just as all the weirdness was starting to kick in,” Kirk says. “Shadow Of Fear feels like a strangely appropriate title. The current situation didn’t have much of an influence on what I was doing – all the vocal content was already in place before the panic set in – but maybe due to my nature of being a bit paranoid there are hints in there about stuff going a bit weird and capturing the current state of affairs.” Although, as with a lot of Kirk’s work, concrete meaning and narrative is ripe for interpretation rather than being spelled out. “Surrealism has always been really important to Cabaret Voltaire,” says Kirk. “And that’s still present too.”
The genesis of the new album was the 2014 Berlin Atonal festival where Kirk played the first show on his own as Cabaret Voltaire. This began a new era for the pioneering Sheffield outfit whose influence across electronic, post-punk and industrial music remains an untouchable one today.
“The mission statement from the off was no nostalgia. Normal rules do not apply. Something for the 21st Century. No old material.”
Kirk has since gone on to perform at festivals and concerts across Europe, shaping the sound of Cabaret Voltaire’s future:
“I started developing tracks specifically for live performance,” he says. “Stuff that was quite stripped back and crude. Every time I would visit a new place to perform, I would write something fresh.”
Recorded at the latest location of Western Works, the studio used throughout Cabaret Voltaire’s history, Kirk toyed with upgrading his old set up to digital but after a computer failure, he decided to retain his original equipment.
“Making this album reminded me a bit of the old days with Cabaret Voltaire because there wasn’t that much equipment, so you really had to use your imagination.”
That’s as far as the similarities to Cabaret Voltaire’s past go, that is where it ends.
“It’s nice that people appreciate what you’ve done in the past,” says Kirk. “But it’s a dangerous place to dwell.”
SHADOW OF FEAR TRACKLISTING
- Be Free
- The Power (Of Their Knowledge)
- Night Of The Jackal
- Microscopic Flesh Fragment
- Papa Nine Zero Delta United
- Universal Energy
- What’s Goin’ On