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#7489 (Collected Works 1974-1989)

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Album Review

This gargantuan box set compiles eight discs of solo material by Richard H. Kirk, co-founder of British industrial music pioneers Cabaret Voltaire, ranging from mid-'70s experiments recorded at his parents' house to late-'80s tracks influenced by the acid house movement. The set begins with Disposable Half-Truths, originally released on cassette by Throbbing Gristle's Industrial Records in 1980. The release is very much in line with CV's early material as well as TG's work — there are sheets of white noise, distorted vocals, mutilated samples, primitive drum machine pulsations, and a whole lot of creepiness. Three years later, Kirk released double-LP High Time Fiction on CV's own Doublevision imprint. The album's first disc is a slightly more polished development of the experimentation of his earlier work. The rhythms are slightly more upfront, but everything still sounds rough, jagged, and sinister. Tracks such as the warped dub centerpiece "Force of Habit" demonstrate Kirk's mastery of bizarre, unsettling effects and deconstructed rhythms. High Time Fiction's second disc is much different, consisting of a far more experimental 40-minute piece titled "Dead Relatives," filled with hypnotic loops of jarring horn blasts and spooky voices. The piece could easily be mistaken for an early Nurse with Wound recording. In 1986, after CV had begun producing more commercial-sounding dance music and signed with Virgin (and later Parlophone), Kirk returned to the group's original indie home, Rough Trade, for two albums. Black Jesus Voice is the more accessible of the two, containing heavy dance rhythms and vicious sample manipulation. While much more danceable than his earlier work, "Martyrs of Palestine" flashes back to his industrial electro-punk sound. Ugly Spirit, Kirk's other 1986 album, prefers slow, crushed tempos, and is far more dramatic and tense. Tracks such as "Hollywood Babylon" and "Voodoo" contain the types of tribal rhythms and samples that Kirk would explore with his later work, particularly under the name Sandoz. The remaining three discs of the box collect rarities and unreleased material from throughout the '70s and '80s; two of the discs were previously released as Earlier/Later: Unreleased Projects Anthology 74/89. Highlights include the fantastic "Never Lose Your Shadow (12" Mix)" (which was eventually released on a 12" by Minimal Wave in 2014), a house cover of Can's "I Want More," the skipping-record nightmare "Immaculate Riot," and extended 12" versions of some of the Black Jesus Voice tracks. Nearly everything on this set is fascinating, and any fan of CV or early industrial music needs this.


Born: March 21, 1956 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Former Cabaret Voltaire member Richard H. Kirk is widely regarded as one of techno's busiest men, a distinction he's picked up through a release schedule that keeps discographers sweating and die-hard fans near bankruptcy. No doubt, that work ethic developed during Kirk's time with CV, who, in their nearly 20 years together, released as many albums and even more EPs. Kirk's even more productive as a solo artist, with countless released credited to Sandoz, Electronic Eye, and works released under...
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#7489 (Collected Works 1974-1989), Richard H. Kirk
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