We are sorry to hear of the death of Richard H Kirk, one of the founding members of the remarkable and highly influential Sheffield group Cabaret Voltaire, aptly named after the Zurich nightclub that was the centre of the early Dada movement. With their fusion of music concrete, electronic beats, found sound, distorted keyboards and bass, the group recorded a series of records that, years ahead of the game and operating in complete isolation, totally changed the narrative of music and their influence can be heard everywhere. In later years they turned this into an almost dancefloor-orientated left-field pop without losing the power and potency of their music. Connecting the experimental side of Roxy Music with William S Burrough’s cut up techniques, their The Voice of America (1980) and Red Mecca (1981) are key albums.
True game changers and pioneers with Richard at their heart, they changed the soundscape of music, and perhaps the landscape of Sheffield itself, with their electronic pioneering being a profound influence on that city’s musical culture in the later post-punk years, that is perhaps part of the fabric, skyline and DNA of the city itself now.