Music Review | posted 29.08.2014
Richard H. Kirk
Never Lose Your Shadow EP
Minimal Wave, 2014
Text Peter Gebert , Translation Julia Frohn
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Editorial
Cover Richard H. Kirk - Never Lose Your Shadow EP

In today’s times of digitial wokstation-packets, it’s often hard to differentiate between reasons and conditions for the – sometimes utter – disturbance which used to come with early electronic pop music. The productions from those days were often raw, often flawed, which is exactly what Richard H. Kirk, musical master mind of Cabaret Voltaire, used to harness for his works. »Never Lose Your Shadow«, a track finally released on vinyl more than 30 years after its first production, shows us in an almost painful way how technical improvements and optimizations can deprive music of its original potential for expressions. However, the track is not only powerful due to its coarseness. Richard H. Kirk has managed to uniquely combine crawling and frosty funk with dry sequences and edgy riffs, accompanied by cracking ricochets and a new kind of psychedelia that dub-fan Richard H. Kirk’s achieved to distill in his studios, coining the sounds of the Cabaret Voltaire-productions from »Crackdown« to »Drinking Gasoline« in the following years. Once again, his saxophone sleds through gorges made of concrete until we finally hear his vocals: a timbre, having its origin somewhere near the silkiness of OMDs Andy McCluskey, but then, with a cynical grudge, trying to hopelessly drill its way into an exitless track until it breaks. Three tracks on the b-side from the years between 1978 and 1987 impressively prove that Richard H. Kirk never actually gave up on the tape-recording-experiments which marked the beginnings of Cabaret Voltaire (and which Chris Watson, his former band-colleague later tried to develop further through his field recorder career). They were combinations of simple drum box sounds, dug up vocal samples and a post-industrial atmosphere, muffled and over-charged with effects, reminding the listener of Pyrolator and the soundtrack of THX-1138, from which the dreamy worlds of his great album »Virtual State« were to arise. After the retrospective compilation on Mute and after the revival show at the Berlin Atonal-festival, this vinyl (that Minimal Wave is to be congratulated for) is the perfect climax of this year’s summer of Cabaret Voltaire.

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