The Crackdown

June 17, 2009

The street protests in Iran and the sadly predictable state response brought this song into my head. Cabaret Voltaire may have written it in 1985 but it seems just as relevant, if not more so today – “someone sometimes cracks down”.

Like their electronic buddies Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire were always about standing in the way of control. As far back as 1980 talking about The Voice of America Richard H Kirk described the record’s themes as: “Oppression, control, the general state of what’s happening in Britain right now, especially under this government”. Listen to that record now and it seems even more relevant to today’s world of twenty-four hour surveillance cameras, draconian anti-terror laws and New Labour doublespeak. 1981’s Red Mecca sounds even more prescient – listen to Spread the Virus and shudder. The album is a distant mirror, reflecting then and now. Scary.

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