Just under a year ago I wrote a post about the then new Cabaret Voltaire album Shadow Of One and only last week I found my burned CD of it in the car and put it on a pile of albums to revisit. Shadow Of One saw Cabaret Voltaire reduced to the core of founder Richard H. Kirk, Stephen Mallinder having departed sometime before. Sadly news started to come out of Sheffield the day before yesterday that Richard had died aged 65.
Cabaret Voltaire's influence and presence in the shadows and half light since the mid- 70s (pre- punk) as electronic/ sampling/ sound mangling/ industrial pioneers is immense. Kirk once said that electronic music was a great way to make music 'if you weren't the world's greatest musician' and that's where their importance lies- they had ideas, ambitions and creativity and via tape machines, DIY synths and electronics and video they paved a way for non- musicians to make great music. By the time they signed to Virgin and then EMI in the 80s they were surfing the wave of what would become dance music/ acid house.
I've posted the 12" single they released on Factory in 1982 previously on three or four occasions. Yashar (plus the John Robie remix on the B-side) is one of the crucial early Factory releases. I can't imagine my record collection without it.
Sensoria from 1984 is industrial dance music, crunching drum machines and a full sound, melodic synth lines, ascending chords, a guitar part, vocals laid on top, brief snatches of backing vox and a sampled voice- all the sort of thing that would be commonplace by 1990.
Richard H. Kirk R.I.P.