Cabaret Voltaire’s “towering genius” Richard H. Kirk has died

"A creative genius indeed and a truly top fella"

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Cabaret Voltaire‘s Richard H. Kirk has died.

The post-punk outfit’s sole remaining member’s death was announced by his record label Mute yesterday afternoon (September 21). He was 65.

“It is with great sadness that we confirm our great and dear friend, Richard H. Kirk has passed away,” a statement from the label said. “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 has not yet been confirmed.

Broadcaster Dave Haslem, was one of the first to pay tribute to Kirk, describing him as a “creative genius indeed and a truly top fella. RIP.”

Goldblade member John Robb also paid his respects. “Really sad news. Richard H Kirk (Cabaret Voltaire) RIP. Musical and cultural game-changer,” he wrote.

New Order, meanwhile, posted on social media: “Richard and all of Cabaret Voltaire were good friends and very influential electronic musicians that made a big impact on the music of [Joy Division] and many other bands.

“They helped us enormously after Ian [Curtis] passed away when we collaborated with them for the first time in a studio without Ian. Richard will be sorely missed, he left his mark in music innovation and experimentation.”


Elsewhere, Orbital wrote: “So sorry to hear about Richard. He was a massive influence on our musical lives, both listening and playing but more that we became friends in the 90’s [sic]. (RIP : Richard H Kirk).”

You can see those messages and more below.

Originally active between 1973-1994 – Cabaret Voltaire featured Chris Watson until 1981 and Stephen Mallinder until 1994.

The group were inactive for 20 years until Kirk as the sole remaining member, returned for a 2014 performance at Berlin’s Atonal festival.

A new album, Shadow Of Fear, their first in 26 years was also released in 2020.

Speaking about the record at the time Kirk said in reference to the coronavirus crisis: “The album was finished just as all the weirdness was starting to kick in,” adding that “Shadow Of Fear feels like a strangely appropriate title” for these trying times.

He continued: “The current situation didn’t have much of an influence on what I was doing – all the vocal content was already in place before the panic set in – but maybe due to my nature of being a bit paranoid there are hints in there about stuff going a bit weird and capturing the current state of affairs.”

Originally published on NME

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