Richard H. Kirk of Cabaret Voltaire dies at 65

He was the sole remaining member of the influential Sheffield post-punk group.

Stephen Mallinder and Richard H Kirk

L-R: Stephen Mallinder and Richard H. Kirk / Photo: David Corio / Redferns

Richard H. Kirk, the last founding member of post-punk outfit Cabaret Voltaire, has died at 65.

News of his passing was announced yesterday (21 September) by his label Mute which wrote in a statement: “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.”

No cause of death has yet been confirmed.

Formed in 1973 by Kirk, Stephen Mallinder and Chris Watson at Sheffield University, the group’s experimental use of synths and tape loops would be influential on generations of pop, house, techno and art-rock artists to come.

Cabaret Voltaire grew their following in the 80s with albums such as Red Mecca and The Crackdown making NME’s Albums Of The Year lists for 1981 and 1983, respectively.

Watson left after the release of Red Mecca and in 1995, Mallinder moved to Perth, Australia, leaving Kirk the sole original member of the group.

In 2009, Kirk revived the Cabaret Voltaire name and released two albums with New Zealand band Kora and Sheffield’s The Tivoli called Kora! Kora! Kora! and National Service Rewind, respectively.

Cabaret Voltaire’s final release was 2020’s Shadow Of Fear, the only LP to feature Kirk as the sole member of the band.

Cabaret Voltaire aside, Kirk was deeply prolific over the years, releasing ambient and electronic music under a multitude of aliases and pseudonyms on the labels Warp, Mute, Intone and more.

Tributes to the late musician have poured in from the music world, including from his former Cabaret Voltaire bandmates, Stephen Mallinder and Chris Watson. See below:


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