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  Kora! Kora! Kora!  
  Kora remixed by Cabaret Voltaire  
  Shiva Records  
Release Date:
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This is a strange release. Kora are a Maori band from New Zealand, and on their own they make reggae music. I guess the laconic rhythms of that style make sense to the sun, sand, and surf battered peoples anywhere on the planet.

But i am not reviewing a reggae record. This particular release has Kora remixed by Richard H. Kirk from avant-garde electronic legends Cabaret Voltaire. I am a huge Cabaret Voltaire fan, and i was surprised to see Kirk resurrect the name. CabVol has been silent since 1994, except for some compilations and re-releases. As far as i can tell from the internet, this is just him, without Stephen Mallinder. So it's not a proper CabVol release, but it is part of an effort to bring the band back. Fine with me.

Kora! Kora! Kora! is much along the lines of Kirk's solo work in the late 90s. I admit that i haven't picked up any of his releases since The Number of Magic (which was too close to being Banco de Gaia for my tastes), so i hadn't really known what he was up to. Well, apparently he is still out there, DJing, remixing, and making strange music. Here he has taken the happy reggae of Kora and twisted it into an intense electronic dance experience.

I guess what i really want to know is: what made this sunshiny Maori reggae act decide to work with an avant-garde industrial electronic band? Or vice versa? Whose idea was this anyway? I find it hard to believe that there is any overlap between average Kora fan and the average CabVol listener.

The thing is this: according to what i can find on the internet (which means it MUST be true), Mallinder retired to New Zealand. And here is a remix record of a New Zealander act with his former act's name on it. Mallinder's name is not on the disc, but it still makes you wonder if this is the first step towards a full CabVol reunion? If so, it is not an auspicious first step…

Kora! Kora! Kora! fluctuates from by-the-numbers dance pop to strange cut and mangled dub. There are some enjoyable moments here, but i have to confess that i find the ever present vocals to get annoying. I suppose that spun at deafening volumes and filtered through the buzz of a dance club, this might be rather nice. Not that i would know…

Strange record – not quite Cab Vol, but not fully South Pacific reggae either. My real question here is will this bring Mallinder out of retirement? Time will tell....

Related Links:

Label Website:
Kora MySpace:
Kora Website:
Cabaret Voltaire Website:
Cabaret Voltaire Wiki:


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