Richard H. Kirk:
TWAT 4.0, CD

Richard H. Kirk has been one of the electronic music scene's busy bees ever since the early days of Cabaret Voltaire more than 25 years ago. TWAT 4.0 is his latest release, but music-wise it conjures up memories of early Cabaret Voltaire.

Who is Richard H. Kirk? Richard uses so many alter egos for his recording output that he may have forgotten by now who he really is. Cabaret Voltaire is still the best known of all his projects, but then there's Sandoz, Sweet Exorcist, Biochemical Dread or Al Jabr and a couple of other pseudonyms he's used over the years in order to emphasize the message behind his music. For a (political) message can be found in all of Richard's works as he expresses his cynical views on the (Western) world.

This time Richard has chosen "The War Against Terror" (a phrase which fabulously shortens to the acronym TWAT). The version number 4 was obviously added to highlight the fact that TWAT is a work-in-progress, a constantly changing improvisational piece that's updated every now and then by new footage and sound samples from armed conflicts around the world. The musical framework goes back to a performance Richard held at a church in London and comprises one monster-song made up of six sub-parts with a total playing time of 49 minutes.

Music-wise TWAT is much closer to the sonic violence of early Cabaret Voltaire than to Richard's later experiments with Acid House and Ambient Music - even the cover artwork looks like it's been created twenty years ago. Most of the tunes are driven by distorted machine-like rhythms and fierce electronic sounds - turn on your imagination, add a few samples (some of them taken from an "oriental" context) and you're nearly there. The defining moment in TWAT is monotony, the compositions are based on a few simple rhythmical ideas and paint a very bleak picture of the world we live in.

Label: Intone (Richard's own label)

(rh 11/MMIII)

"The war against home-taping" or: what's the meaning behind that cover?