One of the founding members of Cabaret Voltaire Richard H. Kirk has continued on with his quest through dark electronic and ambient territories. Releasing his own work under his own name and continuing under Cabaret Voltaire solo all through his own Intone label. Dasein will be His first solo record in 5 years.
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9/10 Thomas Spice Customer review, 16th July 2017
Of all stimulants ingested by musicians amphetamines are by far most conducive to ensuring at least an abundant back catalogue and at best an inspiring back catalogue. Richard H Kirk is a fine example of the latter of these two speedy conceits, as he partly attests to in a 2017 Factmag interview when discussing the fecundity of his musical life in the 70 and 80s , "[sic] taking a lot of amphetamines....you just get this work ethic from it...I was doing a lot of collage in the studio – it was like the Velvets being with Andy Warhol, it was a cultural hub where it was cool to keep putting things together". The ceaseless energy of a basehead fused with the furtive and combinatory spirit of art pioneers is a very fair self assessment from Kirk and can certainly be borne out in the scope of aliases and output therewith.
Whilst such an extensive oeuvre must be frustrating for the completists it suits those casual listeners like me who chose to dabble rather than immerse. So it is that I arrive at Kirk's recent offering entitled Dasein and find a pleasingly edifying release. Before even commenting on the music it is highly apt that the album's title tips it's cap to a term from German philosopher Martin Heidegger's existential outlook. For Heidegger Dasein was that uniquely human quality of existence whereby a human retains a constant and reflexive involvement with environment. For Kirk one gets the feeling that Dasein is a critical function of musical existence where reflexive internal dialogue with his own musical ecology forges this Sheffield natives steely determination.
Dasein therefore offers a snapshot of Kirk's musical mind exploring a healthy array of tropes both contemporary and not so. The fierce opener 'Lets Jack' replete with scything synth sweeps and an incendiary rhythmic undercarriage calls to mind the recent output of Factory Floor or curry favour with fans of the jackbeat escapades of Traxx. Similarly the bubbling acidic rides that are '20 Block Lockdown' and 'Nuclear Cloud' sees Kirk staking the terrain of contemporary electronic dance a la Daniel Avery, paradoxically a sound that would not exist without the profligacy of Kirk on the whizzed up to the knackers in the 70s and 80s.
The gaze of Dasein is not however solidly fixed on contemporaneous figures and so Kirk finds time to quirky synth pop in the style of Telex or Yello on 'Do It Right Now', a funky backing topped with jocular calls to 'Make It Funky'. Similarly 'Invasion Pretext' looks backwards to fuse a resolutely funky teutonic breakbeat with a cloud of synth haze last seen in the circuity of Moebius's CS-80. Perhaps in another (sub)conscious nod to Germanic lineage 'Lear Jet' draws parallels with the rough scourge like intensity of Conrad Schnitzler's Con-Struct.
Taken in it's entirety Dasein reveals itself a masterful work; Kirk may remind me of a dizzying array of musical projects this is overwhelmingly, Kirk, a master of his own unique musical ecology.
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