Back in 1983, Cabaret Voltaire upgraded their studio with a nice advance from Virgin Records. The resulting album sported a Neville Brody sleeve, sleek production and some of the Cabs’ best alternative dancefloor material. In this video, they showcase one of the stand-out tracks from The Crackdown.
Rare Video of the Week
Proto-techno synth pioneers Liaisons Dangereuses are best known for a song about the kids who hang around in the park, smoking and intimidating passers-by. This link is to their July 1982 concert at Manchester’s seminal Hacienda club, which had to close down when those kids later became old enough to gain entrance and turned it into a gangland. Now, that’s ironic, Alanis Morissette!
Secession were one of Scotland’s finest electronic bands. Seen here lip-syncing to their minor hit, Touch, their story ended badly: the singer developed a reputation as poor as that of Boyd Rice, for essentially the same reasons, before committing suicide. There was a time, however, when Touch and another important single, Fire Island, were massively influential among DJs and musicians, acting as the missing link between HiNRG and dark wave.
When Ryuichi Sakamoto of Yellow Magic Orchestra and Thomas Dolby got together in 1985, pooling their Atari computers, the result was a sparking piece of synthpop called Field Work. Who knew that there was a mini-film to go with the 12″ single?
One of the risks of taking your name from an Anthony Burgess novel is that others have the same idea. There were several Heaven 17s, for example, and at least two Johnny Zhivagos. This Johnny Zhivago might have been the first: a new wave band from Canada that put out a four-track 7″ EP in the early 1980s. This video has been rescued from an old home recording, so the quality isn’t the greatest, but the songwriting and performance are both well worth a belated look.
Three young guys from a small city in Canada got together in the early 1980s, inspired by their love of Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, The Normal and Fad Gadget, to create original synthpop. The results were amazing, but there are few recordings (and none made available commercially). This video is taken from a 1984 appearance on the Technomode television programme.