I could say that back in June 1979 I found this single, issued by Rough Trade Records, to be hugely inspirational and essential listening:-

mp3 : Cabaret Voltaire – Nag Nag Nag

I could say that but I would be lying.

It was a period where I was beginning to get exposed to more electronic music and in due course, if perhaps a little slowly, would fall for its charms. But I never took to what many claimed at the time was one of the breakthrough examples of the genre. It was just too weird, unconventional and difficult for my tastes, and although years later I can now hear it as not being too dissimilar in approach from any punk/new wave songs of the era, it remains a piece of music that grates on me rather than me being able to declare it as great.

It would be another five years before I heard a Cabaret Voltaire song that I could really enjoy and appreciate:-

mp3 : Cabaret Voltaire – Sensoria

Much more accessible thank you very much.  One for flailing around the disco floor with your raincoat flapping behind you like Batman’s cape as he chases the bad guys.



  1. I was the opposite. I’m not that keen on the later stuff, but bought several of those early releases at the time (I wish I still had ‘Three Mantras’) and saw them live at The Lyceum in early 1981.

  2. CV was one of those bands that guided me into electronic music. I don’t fell in love with this kind of music from the first time I heard but it was a road I followed amongst the others in independent music.

  3. the New York remix of Yashar really did them for me, and then loved the Crackdown album (that 12″ with Just Fascination/The Crackdown is still one of my most treasured 12″!) and followed them the next 3 -4 albums before I lost interest again. but, boy those 3-4 albums! “why kill time” from the crackdown introduced me to nihilism, who says “pop music” can’t be educating?

  4. Daleks making a garage punk record? What’s not to love??!! I first heard the band when “The Voice Of America” came out on college radio in ’81. I was intrigued, then my first CV purchase was “Eddie’s Out” on 12″ with a bonus 7″ included. Can you dig it? I didn’t hear anything else until “Sensoria” but that was so seismic, that I went back and obtained -everything-. I rode the CV bus hard until “Groovy, Laidback + Nasty” made a disbeliever out of me. I like the early cutup material a lot, but the Cab Volt Imperial Period [’83-’86] is one of my favorite career arcs apart from “Simple Minds ’78-’83.”

  5. Nag Nag Nag came to my attention on Rough Trade’s Wanna Buy A Bridge compilation (which is possibly the best of the Post Punk collections that came out during the period) and it was massively influential on my musical buying for quite a long time. Aside from peaking an interest in The Cabs, I doubled down on all things Sheffield. They were as much a force for change as Human League Mk.1. Nag Nag Nag’s sneering anger and the minimalist synth percussion and grind just grabbed you by the neck and shook you good. That they would someday make the pile of crap that was Groovy, Laidback + Nasty, boggles my mind to this day.

  6. “One for flailing around the disco floor with your raincoat flapping behind you like Batman’s cape as he chases the bad guys.”

    My youth encapsulated in one sentence.

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