Rest in power Richard H. Kirk. We revisit 5 tracks from the electronic music pioneer’s multitude of projects.
Richard H. Kirk, sadly, has passed at 65. Besides founding influential industrial group Cabaret Voltaire with Stephen Mallinder and Chris Watson, Kirk also led a highly prolific solo career using countless aliases that allowed him to express his art beyond the post-punk and industrial sounds of his early years into diverse contemporary genres from techno and house to ambient chillout and dub.
A statement from Kirk’s label Mute said: “It is with great sadness that we confirm our great and dear friend, Richard H. Kirk has passed away. Richard was a towering creative genius who led a singular and driven path throughout his life and musical career. We will miss him so much.”
Today, we revisit five diverse tracks from Kirk’s various projects.
Richard H. Kirk – Never Lose Your Shadow (1982)
Originally included on a CD-only collection of Earlier / Later (Unreleased Projects Anthology 74-89) and then released on vinyl in 2014 on Minimal Wave, “Never Lose Your Shadow” is simply, a huge darkwave tune that will rock any dance floor. The way Kirk makes slight adjustments to the bubbling bassline throughout the track is pure magic.
Sweet Exorcist – Test Four (1989)
Kirk’s “bleep techno” collaboration with DJ Parrot would release the first ever album on seminal electronic label Warp Records. “Test Four,” off of their Testone EP, is a perfect bleep groove and a massive tune that still sounds fresh today.
Electronic Eye – Bush Channel Stepper (1994)
A masterpiece of ’90’s ambient electronic / techno music, Closed Circuit by Kirk’s Electronic Eye dives into dubby territories much like his Sandoz project — though the tracks are much more spacious and often expand across ten minutes. Hypnotic, cosmic, ambient chillout!
Robots + Humanoids – Indigo Octagon (1996)
A one-time alias, Robots + Humanoids continued Kirk’s exploration of ambient and downtempo sounds. We’re not quite sure the reason for using this alias versus the Electronic Eye or Sandoz. Perhaps Robots + Humanoids is slightly more sample-heavy and downtempo focused than the others? Either way, it’s classic Kirk with bubbly synths, deep bass, and beautiful ambient textures.
Sandoz – King Dread (1998)
One of our favorite Kirk projects, Sandoz tapped his Jamaican reggae / dub influences and mixed them with contemporary dance music along with various other world music styles for a truly unique sound. Chant to Jah is a twisted, electronic dub classic that stays a little closer to traditional dub formats. We also recommend checking out Music from Memory’s recent Sandoz compilation for more of the electronic stuff. It’s all devastatingly great…
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