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"DOUBLEVISION PRESENT CABARET VOLTAIRE"

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Mute
To round out their ongoing series of Cabaret Voltaire reissues, Mute has released Doublevision Present Cabaret Voltaire on DVD. Originally issued through Factory in 1984, this DVD is identical to the original VHS release: the same 14 videos in the exact same sequence. It's a shame they couldn't find something extra to slap onto the digital version, but it's still a welcome reissue for those who have no patience for the deterioration of their VHS collection. Doublevision was a communications company founded by Kirk, Mallinder and Paul Smith in 1982, with the express purpose of releasing music-based video for an affordable price, eventually transforming it into one of the first explicitly audiovisual record labels. This is not surprising for Cab Volt, who were always two steps ahead of their contemporaries, it seems. For these 14 videos, Cabaret Voltaire utilized nascent video editing technology, splicing together television clips, performance videos and archival film footage, gluing it all together with low-tech early video effects. The interesting thing about watching these videos in 2004 is that the primitive video techniques, which probably seemed piss-poor at the time of their release, now play into the current avant-garde video art obsession with early 1980's low budget pirate video aesthetic. 20 years on, this collection of random video cut-ups and ugly, jagged editing techniques seems positively vanguard. The tracks presented are from the finest period Cabaret Voltaire: "Diskono," "Obsession," "Nag Nag Nag," and "Seconds Too Late," among others, are represented. Televised nature and anthropology programs are intercut with images of war, death and destruction from new broadcasts. Clips of Leni Riefenstahl films and videos or surgeries rub shoulders with grainy, decayed video images superimposed over each other in a weird Burroughsian collage of overlapping transmissions, giving rise to a mysterious "third mind" of accidental coincidences and synchronicities. As experimental video, it all works amazingly well. As music videos, the effect is somewhat more muted, as the edits often out of sync with the beat structures of the music. Still, it would be hard to imagine a more appropriate visual accompaniment to Cabaret Voltaire's abrasive, subterranean, low-fidelity electronic music.
Last Updated on Monday, 24 October 2005 14:05  


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