09 March 2007

Over & Over & Over

This time last week I was out on the town with tha Doppelganger, but tonight I'm stuck at home - a far more befitting arrangement on a Friday night for a married man with three kids, eh? As usual the internet is shit boring, and so's the telly. I could do some housework, or maybe some of that DIY I've been putting off forever. Perhaps I should catch-up with the book-keeping. Maybe I should give my wife some attention, afterall I practically starve her of affection most of the time.

Nah, fuck it. Let's MP3 blog!

Other music bloggers seem so much more...open minded than me. I actively ignore so much music. I intend to keep doing that. I'm blissfully ignorant/uncaring of the whole 'Metal' thing going down at Blissblog. My fave blogger is Woebot, but I find it incomprehensible that he's interested in understanding so many types of music. I've heard enough music over the years to say with some confidence that I know what I like. In this age of plenty, of seemingly infinite possibilities, I prefer to build a wall of prejudice. It's the only sane option. This way, at least I feel like I'm almost keeping on top of my little niche market. Otherwise I'd just fucking drown.

So today the main thought going through my head was, 'which is the best version of Cabaret Voltaire's "Over & Over"?' Not the most earth-shattering question on most people's lips, I'm sure, but the Cabs are my band, same as yours is probably something like The Fall, or Nurse With Wound, or, god help us, Nirvana, so these sort of inquiries need to be addressed from time to time.

Cabaret Voltaire - Over & Over ('Crackdown' Version)

The 'official' version of "Over and Over " can be found on The Crackdown album, from 1983. This was the Cabs' first album with Some Bizarre/Virgin, after leaving Rough Trade - the first one with a big budget, co-produced by Flood and not recorded at their own Western Works Studio in Sheffield. The first Cabs album I ever bought. Life changing stuff. If I have any problem with this material now, it probably has something to do with Mal's vocals. Not the most naturally talented singer, it made sense in the early days when he was barking joylessly through a ring-modulator, but by this point he's trying to move more towards conventional vocals. It's not embarrassing by any means, but just...a little dated, I suppose. He got better as he went along, once he started to lose that uptight vibe. Most of The Crackdown album is so prescient - built with Roland 808 drums and sequencers in true proto-techno style - yet "Over & Over" is a hangover from the jagged 'live' feel of their latter-Rough Trade period. I'm not sure it stands-up to scrutiny in the harsh light of a professional studio recording.

Cabaret Voltaire - Over & Over ('Flexi' Version)

This one originally came out on a flexi disc given away with issue 13 of Vinyl Magazine, then subsequently included on the "Listen Up With Cabaret Voltaire" rarities album on Grey Area/Mute. I like this version much better. Exact recording details are unknown, but evidently it's a much earlier, primitive take. Mal's vocal is more of a whisper, enveloped in a dense reverb cloud, and I love that slap-back echo on the drums. Kirk's guitar mews like an injured kitten. Deliciously damaged post-punk shenanigans. But...

Cabaret Voltaire - Over & Over (Live 'Hai!' Version)

...I have to give the crown to this version, recorded live at Tsubaki House, Tokyo, 25 years ago this month, as documented on the "Hai!" album. The Cabs were a viciously intense experience on stage at that time (much more so than when I finally got to see them a few years later) and Mal sounds permanently on the verge of psychotic breakdown. Alan Fish's drumming is well righteous and Kirk responds with a steady flow of multimedia pressure, throwing out pitiless slabs of echoplexed guitar noise, processed tape collage and spurts of synthetic morse code. That's the full-blooded action painting style this 'song' truly deserved.

There are other live versions too, but I wouldn't want to try the reader's patience.


Rhos said...

Thanks - I haven't listened to this period of CV in far too long.

"There are other live versions too, but I wouldn't want to try the reader's patience."

Please do!

belltonesuicide said...

I've been listening to all the different versions of "Diskono" lately, thinking its my favorite song ever.

This might give good competition!

St. Anthony said...

Like that picture ... the jolly, knockabout Cabs.
Live version has the edge - though I do pine for the 'barking joylessly' days.

U Cheese said...

Wow - link expired already. Would've loved to compare as always remembered this as a killer. Yes, "Diskono" would be a good idea for this kind of treatment as would "Don't Argue" and "Yashar"...

Cheers anyway for stirring the pot!

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