This collection of BBC recordings from the godfathers of electro-industrial will be a welcome addition to any collection of pioneering U.K. electro-industrial groups. Obviously a favorite of John Peel, the group made numerous appearances on his legendary show between 1984 and 1986, the best of which is compiled on this double set. And while John Peel may be the name behind most of the BBC sessions, Janice Long also presented the group and the two DJs collectively amassed an enormous archive of recordings of Cabaret Voltaire of which, apparently, this compilation merely scratches the surface. Cabaret Voltaire's classics from the mid-'80s period, such as "Sensoria," are outstandingly performed here as compared to the album version, stripped down to a barebones, minimalist approach that leader Richard H. Kirk describes as "Cabaret Voltaire unplugged" in his liner notes. Though far from it, the varying sound quality of the sessions is harder and funkier than any of the studio albums cut in this period -- from Micro-Phonies through to the classics Code and The Arm of the Lord. Kirk's guitar is a considerably prominent force, recalling the hard edge of their earlier noise that was becoming increasingly distant in the cleaner electronic sound of their mid-'80s work. The BBC sessions also presented three tracks that never appeared elsewhere in the Cabaret Voltaire discography, including "Ruthless," which one could guess is from the same period as the Micro-Phonies album, and "You Like to Torment Me," which is certainly a blueprint for the sound explored on Code circa 1986. Other outstanding tracks are "Hey! Hey!," which appeared as a bonus track on certain European versions of the album, and "We've Got Heart," which is classic Cabaret Voltaire in keeping with the 1986 electro sound. As with most BBC sessions, the album is an excellently produced collection that displays the band at the peak of their creativity, capturing the energy of a live performance with the quality of a studio recording.
AllMusic Review by Dean McFarlane