Richard H. Kirk, co-founder of Cabaret Voltaire, has died

The pioneering British musician has passed away.

Cabaret Voltaire co-founder Richard H. Kirk has died aged 65. His passing was confirmed earlier today (21 September) by his long-term label Mute. A cause of death has not yet been announced.

“It is with great sadness that we confirm our great and dear friend, Richard H. Kirk has passed away,” reads a statement from Mute. “Richard was a towering creative genius who led a singular and driven path throughout his life and musical career. We will miss him so much. We ask that his family are given space at this time.” 

Sheffield-born Kirk formed Cabaret Voltaire alongside Stephen Mallinder and Chris Watson in 1973. While their early period was rooted in DIY electronics and reel-to-reel experiments, they would go on to embrace a more structured, rhythmic sound that aligned them with early industrial music and post-punk.

Cabaret Voltaire were inactive for 20 years until Kirk, as the group’s sole remaining member, revived the project for a performance at Berlin Atonal in 2014. Last year, Cabaret Voltaire released Shadow of Fear – their first release with Kirk as the sole member, and the band’s first new album in 26 years. Kirk released a further two Cabaret Voltaire albums, Dekadrone and BN9Drone, earlier this year.

Alongside Cabaret Voltaire, Kirk maintained an illustrious solo career. He released a plethora of material under various aliases such as Sandoz, Electronic Eye and Al Jabr. He also teamed up with Richard Barratt – aka DJ Parrot or Crooked Man – to form Sweet Exorcist, with the pair releasing bleep techno records via the then-fledging Warp Records.