(CelebrityAccess) — Richard H. Kirk, the pioneering post punk industrial and electronic music artist who co-founded the influential experimental group Cabaret Voltaire has died. He was 65.
His label, Mute Records, confirmed his passing, writing: “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. We ask that his family are given space at this time.”
A cause of death for Kirk was not provided.
Born in Sheffield and inspired by artists such as Brian Eno and Roxy Music, Kirk co-founded Cabaret Voltaire with Stephen Mallinder and Chris Watson in 1973. Drawing inspiration from the Dada art movement and the writings of authors such as William Burroughs, Caberet Voltaire integrated an experimental ethos with dance music sensibilities.
Cabaret Voltaire released their first EP in 1978 and followed it with their debut album, Mix-Up the following year via Rough Trade.
Watson departed the group in 1981 and two years later, they signed a new recording contract with Stevo Pearce’s Some Bizzare (sic), which licensed with Virgin. The deal imposed new stipulations on future recordings that helped the group’s music become more commercially viable. As a result, their first album through Virgin, “The Crackdown” peaked at number 31 in the UK Albums Chart, the group’s highest charting album to date.
In 1988, as the acid house sound exploded in the UK, Kirk began exploring side projects and collaborations, including Sweet Exorcist with Richard Barratt, Technocrats with Ralf Dörper, XON with Robert Gordon, and on his own under a variety of names, including Electric Eye, and Sandoz.
In 1993, the band’s new label, EMI, dropped Cabaret Voltaire amid mounting debt and two years later, Mallinder relocated to Perth, effectively leaving the group.
Through the late 1990s and 2000s, Kirk continued to work as a solo artist, releasing a series of albums and side projects through Warp Records, Mute/EMI, Touch Records, Intone, and Blast First.
In 2009, Kirk relaunched Cabaret Voltaire without Mallinder and released a new album, Kora through a collaboration with the New Zealand band Kora as well as the Sheffield band, The Tivoli.
After relaunch, Cabaret Voltaire continued to sporadically release new material and perform live, including the hour long song ‘BN9Drone’ which was released via Mute earlier this year.