Richard H. Kirk has died at the age of 65. The Sheffield-born musician was best known for his work as part of the band Cabaret Voltaire, but he also had solo projects like Electronic Eye and Sandoz, plus the duo Sweet Exorcist. He was a prolific artist over his career that spanned nearly 50, releasing on labels Warp, Mute, Dust Science, Rough Trade and his own label Intone up until this past year.
Cabaret Voltaire was formed in 1973 with Stephen Mallinder and Chris Watson before being disbanded in 1994. However, it wasn’t until 1979 that he was able to go full-time with Cabaret Voltaire after the Mix-Up album, he told us in 2011. The group was disbanded for 20 years, before being reformed in 2014 with Kirk as the sole member for a performance at Berlin’s Atonal festival. A new album, Shadow of Fear, was released in 2020.
Voltaire found a unique blend of pop, techno and house with a post-punk and industrial edge that made the group beloved and influential in those circles. Kirk’s work made him a very influential figure with music that always seemed to innovate across genres and era.
“Computer technology has revolutionized music in general, not just electronic music. The shifts in electronic music have been governed by the machines; the boxes,” he told us.