Richard H. Kirk, a founding member of the influential industrial music group Cabaret Voltaire, has died. The artist’s label Mute has confirmed today that Kirk passed away on September 21 at age 65.
Via an official statement, the label pays tribute to a “towering creative genius” and asks that his family is given space to grieve. “It is with great sadness that we confirm our great & dear friend, Richard H. Kirk has passed away. Richard was a towering creative genius who led a singular & driven path throughout his life & musical career. We will miss him so much. We ask that his family are given space,” writes the label.
It is with great sadness that we confirm our great & dear friend, Richard H. Kirk has passed away.
Richard was a towering creative genius who led a singular & driven path throughout his life & musical career.
We will miss him so much.
We ask that his family are given space. pic.twitter.com/Ok8u3dNx3T
— Mute (@MuteUK) September 21, 2021
A cause of death has yet to be announced. Many people throughout the music industry are already paying tribute to the multi-talented musician. British writer and DJ Dave Haslam reacted to the news on Twitter by writing, “creative genius indeed and a truly top fella. RIP.” Singer John Robb also took to Twitter to express his sadness. “Really sad news. Richard H Kirk (Cabaret Voltaire) RIP Musical and cultural game-changer,” writes the Goldblade frontman.
Kirk was active in the music industry since the 1970s. He is best known for being a founding member of Cabaret Voltaire, which formed in 1973. The post-punk band was a pioneer in industrial music and was also a prominent member of the industrial techno movement of the 1990s. After originally disbanding in 1994, Kirk reformed the band in 2014 and had been periodically releasing music under the Cabaret Voltaire name.
Last year, Kirk surprised the music world by announcing the first Cabaret Voltaire album in 26 years. Released in December 2020, Shadow of Fear is a grimy and dystopian project. Though it is a consistent project in terms of themes and sonic structure, some criticized the album for its lack of creative flair and innovation.
Earlier this year, Cabaret Voltaire released a new EP called Shadow of Funk, which served as a follow-up to the Shadow of Fear release. The project featured the industrial techno groove single “Billion Dollar.” This nearly six-minute instrumental track possesses a trancelike atmosphere that is composed of layered and oscillating synths.