When he released his last ‘solo’ album in 2017 (before returning to use Cabaret Voltaire for new releases) I always felt this would be a great way to end his lifelong career. “Dasein” includes many facettes, uncomprising and still groovy, disturbing but listenable. It sums up so many of his interests and phases masterly and as such could have been the closing point of his musical career, going full circle from electro, industrial, experimental white funk, acidic house and experimental cut up’s.
[Intone CD9 – also the first Vinyl 2LP on his own label]
Mute announced today via Instagram:
It is with great sadness that we confirm our great and dear friend, Richard H. Kirk has passed away.
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.
I did not yet come to terms with his two latest CV Drone releases yet but loved the beautiful 12″ and liked the “Shadow Of Fear” album even if I had the impression that he’s been playing it safer then necessary. Somehow I doubt it was an attempt in seniority mildness…
Classic later CV in the mix (l.t.r. Richard H. Kirk, Stephen Mallinder)
A great deal of his work was curating the Cabaret Voltaire back catalouge, licensed nearly complete to Mute. Partly remastered, remixed and reworked carefully besides many live recordings and some unreleased gems like the complete “Chance Vs. Causality” Soundtrack from 1979.
I’m running out of words for now. Thankyou for all the hours and hours music & inspiration.
Find a great essay by Ken Hollings over at The Wire now for some interesting thoughts, insights and observations.
As there is not much literature on CV available or has been available in the past with the exception of “The Art Of The Sixth Sense” and it’s updated story which was nearly a different book (“Industrial Evolution – Through The 80’s With Cababaret Voltaire“) due the request of CV / RHK by Mick Fish there might be interest in this recently published neat Interview collection by Fabio Méndez which looks a lot like a true labour of love to me which was never ment to be an epitaph to the story.
I’ve read about this documentary when it came out (or at least was shown in some selected places a few times) but could’nt go to watch it. It never appeared on DVD as far as I know but today I stumbled upon it – so yeah – here are just 24 years later some interesting tidbits from the New York scene in glorious youtube quality. Thanks to the uploader.
DONT BRING A DOG, 1997
“It´s not like writing a popsong and have it played on the fucking radio!”
Aurelio Valle / Factory Press
“A lot of these alternative rockbands seem to be more into Kiss than into Duchamp!”
Kid Congo Powers / Ex-Cramps, Ex-Gun Club, Ex-Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
“Suddenly we became part of the mainstream and that´s still disconcerting!”
Thurston Moore / Sonic Youth
Regie/Buch/Kamera: Oliver Schwabe
Kamera(Interviews): Dirk Lindner
Schnittregie: Rita Schwarze
Schnitt: Oliver Schwabe
Ton Remix: Thomas Arntz
Produktion: Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln
And a little Kid Congo bonus from 2016… He just turned 62 and lives happily with his man & cat!
Another dear tradition of the ever generous Pink Dots is the festive closure of the year with a special EP, sometimes more reminiscent of an audio play (Well actually two as there is a Halloween Special, too).
In Autumn last year Tom Ellard finally succeeded to get rid of the name “Severed Heads” which stuck to the group from 1979 onwards and even with him when the group started to evolve into a one man project beginning in the late 80’s.
He stated fair enough it was not his choice (Australian for Talking Heads?) but even with side projects and solo efforts he had just put to much energy into it to drop it like that. After all Severed Heads where rooted in the same Australian diy scene as S.P.K. and a well-known name (brand?) in early electronic experiments with tape, loops, found noises which continued with their constant use of available technology including video productions and screening containing defamiliarized images and a mixture of psychedelic mutations of electronics starting as early as 1982.
The audiovisual band featured Stephen Jones on Video Synthesizers and headed into their strongest phase starting with “City Slab Horror”. When they toured “The Big Bigot” in 1986 I had the luck to see them in Munich (together with Indie Rockers Inca Babies, Gaye Bikers On Acid and the then recently reformed Wire) and was heavily impressed of the futuristic sounds and graphics they produced. Distribution and licensing deals with Ink Records (UK), Nettwerk (USA) and Volition (AUS) where in place and all looked very promising until their gear was stolen. Slightly demoralised and back in Australia they started working on what became the ill fated breakthrough album “Bad Mood Guy” featuring the heavily promoted single ‘Hot With Fleas’.
This was the first of many attempts to create a hit single and please the labels.
“Rotound For Success” followed in 1989, aiming even more directly into the area of electronic dance music with pop appeal leading to a mediocre album where electro, ebm/industrial and experimental roots shone through only in the technical craftsmanship. The pointless Pumpkin on the cover nearly said all, I actually waited years until I got a cheap and perfect copy just for completion. No less than three 12″ singles had been issued surrounding this one to feed the happy dancing crowd – ‘Big Car’, ‘All Saints Day’ and ‘Greater Reward’ the best of the lot.
Further attempts to popularize the band – meanwhile Ellard and Jones – where made in 1988 with the “Bulkhead” Compilation which lead to a first revival of ‘Dead Eyes Opened’ and in 1991 with the newer Remix collection “Retread”. The last proper Album for Nettwerk followed with “Cuisine (with Piscatorial)”. While it started great with ‘Pilot In Hell’ everything that followed went downhill with only a few exceptions. The balance between commercial appeal, wierdo Pop and interesting electronica of the times was just too much too handle. Ellard later said in interviews we tried to make club music for drugged party people while we never went to clubs or took drugs – so it basically could’nt work. Nettwerk dropped them afterwards (I guess the extra experimental section Piscatorial at the end of the CD did not help) in favour of female singers and rappers while distancing from the whole ebm/electronica acts which made them big. The European distribution via PIAS got lost along the way.
1994 saw Severed Heads (now Tom Ellard solo) return with “Gigapus” on Volition in Australia, with ‘Heart Of The Party’ issued as single on the heels of the ‘Dead Eyes Opened’ Remixes by long term collaborator Robert Racic. 1995 a Carlos Perón remastered version in Europe and 1996 an USA version. Several versions include VHS, CDRom content etc. Again a hell for collectors but nothing helped to increase the fading popularity and the crash of Volution Records ended basically their career with the music industry for good.
Back to basics Tom Ellard as always interested in technical progress was one of the first musicians to embrace the DIY of home-burned CD-R’s and perhaps the first to offer downloadable music from his SevCom pages. The new found freedom had it’s price, loads of equipment was sold, full time jobs etc. The Music Server series was started (Muzak to create working atmospheres 1998 – 2002) followed by the idea of an ever evolving Magazine like release (OP 2002 – 2007) and more. The first of these was licensed as soundtrack for the Australian movie “The Illustrated Family Doctor” and Parts used as Soundtrack won the ARIA, the Australian Music Industry Award in 2005.
‘Haul Ass’ in 1998 and ‘Under Gail Succubus’ (2006) where the only regular Studio Albums issued and they showed a return to form.
The later, coupled with the first of the Barbara Series led to another series of (including this) 4 releases up to 2018, the other volumes credited to Tom Ellard. A highly welcome work crossing all borders.
Besides LTM issued a Heads Live CD, a double Best Of called “Commmerz” and the collectors label Vinyl On Demand a Box with old and oldest recordings, revised and supervised back in 2008. So the first Ending hat not really a chance to stand. Severed Heads stepped out of the grave once more….
These activities lead to a revival in reissues, performing and reworking releases and videos. Also some solo stuff. Also free stuff. Side Projects and remasters. Installing an ever-changing bandcamp site and facsimile reproductions on Vinyl. Besides the usual strange stuff, Tom Ellard Solo & a dive into new and unusual concepts and formats whenever possible.
As a final goodbye there was a limited CD available (now digitally available) to elaborate on what he felt like performing the ‘greatest Hits’ over and over again:
‘The Living Museum’ features the tracks in their final updated versions as performed on the last live Shows in Europe, US and Australia during 2019. This is the 2nd serious and most likely final attempt of Ellard severing ties with Severed Heads and progress actively forward.
The new banner which greated visitors of the SEVCOM home over a period of months announcing his new organisation :
‘Pull up! This is the new style.
Flip the script.
This one’s for the inmates.
The process, the process, the process church of the final judgement.
Like my life these tunes are crunked, chopped & screwed.
A deep listening reflection on this processed world we live in.
No sleep till Bristol.
As Prince Jazzbo said ‘one step forward, two step backward.’
Let the drums of defiance ring across this land.’
Not brand new but nonetheless worth listening. For tracklist and dl see secret thirteen, always worth a visit.
As my thoughts go to the catastrophe in progress which hardly leaves anyone unaffected now I like many others found more time than usual to takea look how some of the musicians I follow react to it and deal with the situation of quarantine and isolation.
Not sure if this ambient experimental work by DsorDNE with Onda Lunga was recorded in hindsight of the current overall mood but it’s quite impressive transmitting a special mood;
Due the unforeseen time he had on his hands Maurizio Pustianaz aka Gerstein remastered some of his elder recordings and reissued them via his bandcamp. Two fine examples are shown below.
Also the gorgeous “Colonna D’Aria” Compilation from Snowdonia (Reissued as SP 002 several years ago) is now professionally remastered online @ Klappstuhl Records – featuring exclusive Gerstein and DsorDNE tracks hidden in one long flow of early late 80’s Italian eclectic underground music.
Ex-Italian ‘Superstars’ PANKOW are giving away their latest re(re-)leases on the Canadian Artoffact label as “pay what you want” for the time being, as do most of this label’s artists currently, among them the incredible and unforgotten Nash The Slash (R.I.P.).
Directly responding to the current pandemic is Amplify 2020 -an online action initiated by Jon Abbey of Erstwhile Records – free downloads of musical pieces created especially during this time as direct reaction. Submissions are still open for those interested to participate.
40 Year after ‘The Amazing World Of Mr. Concept‘ burst onto the tape scene here is the conclusion… “a continued rapid stream of delight”……………… true to the spirit of his early Cassette only albums this release is made and mixed for listening in one go.
Includes extensive liner notes by Mr C! as PDF booklet and of course printable artwork to make your own CD (Sorry, blank tapes are expensive nowadays).
But this is by far not the only project he was working on in the time since ‘XXXVII‘ was released, discover more Concept City productions at the new bandcamp site and enjoy the reissue as digital version or facsimile copy of the legendary ltd. Cordelia Records 1985 Album ‘November’ on LP. Currently available via Platform 23 from Nepal.
There is also a limited amount of original Klappstuhl CDr’s for those who prefer a physical product, including a free dl of the digital booklet. Rumours state it will be only 22 copies of this one which was already issued on February 20th. In any case – Mr. Concept wishes you a good time…
After the 25 Years celebration compilation monster “The United World Underground” issued in 2017, he digged even deeper in his glorious tape label / DIY past to present you (as promised) digitized and mastered works of the dark past where nearly nothing was instantly available nor free nor digital.
This is meant to be the final collection celebrating the past before Mick Magic might make his words true and explore further territories in outer and inner space with a new album by his own Magic Moments At Twilight Time…
See The Magic Net for more downloads and take the chance to get hold of the lovingly remastered reissue of M & E’s top selling CD Album ‘Creavolution’ (read all and more about it here) and get a decent hardcopy at TMR Records.
Click to go to the official info site. Official Release : 06/09/2019. Expect a Bang.
As expected this promises to be another wild sonic ride – from psychedelic, experimental, goth, electro to somewhere else with loads of shades in between. As a first glimpse a bonus virtual C90 is already out with some introducing words by Lord Litter (another survivor) over at the Electronic Cottage.