Cabaret Voltaire

Code

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1987's Code, co-produced by On-U Sound mastermind Adrian Sherwood, finds Cabaret Voltaire at their loosest and most accessible. Though its subject matter remains dark and paranoid, in sound Code is the closest thing CV ever made to a party record. Aided perhaps by Sherwood's rhythmic expertise, it achieved a genuine mechanistic funkiness reminiscent of late-'70s Kraftwerk. That didn't necessarily endear it, of course, to fans of the Cabs' harsher, more challenging material. Many of them dismissed Code as lightweight, but the rest of us can find much to enjoy here. "Sex, Money, Freaks" answers the eternal question, What would it sound like if Roger Troutman of Zapp joined Cabaret Voltaire? "Trouble (Won't Stop)" dips one toe into the blues, with harmonica making a surprising appearance and Bill Nelson providing atmospheric guitar. Code's most memorable song, though, is "Here to Go," a hook-laden and bass-heavy concoction that offers the paradoxical advice, "Sharpen up, relax/ Lighten up, get serious/ Stick with it, sit back/ Live with it, commit yourself."

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