Directors: Cabaret Voltaire, St. John Walker, Peter Care
Time: 90 mins
Music: Cabaret Voltaire
Eye of Sound: After claiming that this was "one of the first independent long form videos ever made" and trying to establish it as a "collectors item", the back cover for the 2004 DVD reedition of Cabaret Voltaire's Double Vision Present feels free to state that the audio and visual quality offered "may be" of "slightly lower standard than it is usual today". Part of this lower quality may be due to, or heightened by, the fact that much of the footage derives from a camera filming a TV, which may well have been a new trick by then (despite Yalkut's and June Paik's 60s and 70s experiments with TV). In fact, the recent 80s fad decided, as usual, to occlude some elements in favor of others, allegedly more digestible by 21st century consumers, and VHS glory was not fortunate enough to be included in the recycling bin - although its sometimes hysterical color blots and far from sharp lines are certainly among the most important cultural marks of the decade. Double Vision Present did attain legendary status within the "independent" popular music of the 80s, not so much because of its visual aspects but mostly it was one of the first video products to emerge from the "underground" and penetrate (mostly through illegal copies, of course) less obscure regions. Before (and shortly after) losing Chris Watson (who would become one of the founders of The Hafler Trio), CV had actually something to say in the burgeoning British synth scene, with their tamed and sometimes dance-tinged blend of electro-gloom and militarized dubby rhythms. The videos presented here document some of the most interesting music they have made (with classics like Obsession, Photophobia, Eddie's Out, Diskono, and others) before their later irritating commercial take on electro-pop. Perhaps more significantly, the collection aptly documents the corrosive pre-MTV Double Vision aesthetics, based on raw cut-ups of contemporary and archival footage of violence, war, fascism, decay, interference, and pop culture - a formula that was extended to other seminal names like Clock DVA, Chris & Cosey, The Residents and TG, substantially contributing for the creation a video aesthetics for the 80s.