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Richard H. Kirk, "Dasein"

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cover imageThe usually prolific Richard H. Kirk has been unsurprisingly quiet as of late.  Playing shows as Cabaret Voltaire again (which I have conflicted feelings about) and a small reissue campaign via Mute and Die Stadt has been about the extent of his recent activity. Which, admittedly, is odd from a man who used to make up projects just to fill out his own solo compilation albums. So when first hearing about the new material that makes up Dasein being released, I was eager but unsure what to expect. Thankfully, the hiatus has done nothing to deter Kirk, who has put together yet another exceptional work of his own take on electronic music, and one that channels moments from his entire career.


As aforementioned, one thing Kirk has done in recent years is revive the Cabaret Voltaire name for some solo performances, and part of me is unsure why he did not opt to release Dasein under that name.  While I feel conflicted about such a thing (CV has always felt like it should be Kirk and Mallinder together, with or without other members), the sound of this album does call to mind early CV, reframed for modern days and technology.  "Nuclear Cloud," for example, runs a standard electro synth sequence with some added outbursts of noise and squalling guitar, a trademark of those early days of Kirk’s work.  There is a similar sound to "Let's Jack," but with a plethora of noisy sound effects, cut up voices, and wah heavy funk, it more resembles the work of the Bomb Squad than Cabaret Voltaire.

Other songs here feel more in sync with Kirk’s solo output from the 1990s.  "Do It Right Now" structurally feels like an almost disco piece with the synths amplified a bit, but bursts of static, bizarre voice processing (Kirk’s first use of his own voice in over a decade), and some added nearly off beat moments gives it that appropriate amount of improvised looseness that often peppers his work from that period.  The same goes for the disjointed noise and dubby echoes throughout "New Lucifer/The Truth is Bad" that, after the beat slowly comes into focus, becomes a dirty, heavy, pounding bit of sinister electronic music.

There are also a significant number of unique moments that are not as easy to place in his timeline of work, but stand strongly and fit with his body of work nonetheless.  The muffled and rhythms throughout "Lear Jet" become an accompaniment to a massive low end and cut up samples that become wonderfully dramatic and Wagnerian, what Laibach in an alternate reality could have done if they had not become so enamored with doing covers.  These heavy moments are some of the best to be had on Dasein, such as the grimy sequencer that keeps "20 Block Lockdown" on edge from beginning to end.  That dirt stays on the more electro/psychedelic tinged "Radioactive Water", which also features some additional harsh Kirk guitar playing.

Closing on the dark, guitar and FM synth driven "Sub / Antarctic / H₂O," Kirk chooses to end a rhythm heavy record on a beat-less note, which summarizes the mood of this record wonderfully.  Kirk has always injected his work with themes of surveillance, violent politics, and impending doom, all of which are relevant in the present day and becoming more and more so.  Heavy rhythms abound on Dasein, but the mood is not one necessarily conducive to dancing, but maybe the perfect soundtrack for a little bit of doomsday prepping.



Last Updated on Monday, 26 June 2017 10:18  


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