Originally released in 2004 as part of a double CD Richard H Kirk retrospective called Earlier Later (Unreleased Projects Anthology 74-89) on the Mute archival label The Grey Area, “Never Lose Your Shadow” gets its first ever vinyl release courtesy of Minimal Wave. Label founder Veronica Vasicka has been playing the track in her sets and it does sound very familiar, but maybe it’s also because Kirk’s influence has loomed large over electronic music.
Indeed, “Never Lose Your Shadow” could be an industrial cousin to the Model 500 classic “No UFOS” from Juan Atkins. The tempo is slower and the doubled up drums have that same spacey, dubbed out feeling, but instead of a Detroit kid talking about spaceships, we hear a man, presumably Kirk himself, stating that ‘this is the gospel according to the blind leading the blind.’ Ostensibly it was inspired by the 70s road movie Vanishing Point among other things, but the tight rhythms and proto-electro beats make it sound like a precursor for mid to late 80s dance tracks like “No UFOs”. Another track from the Mute anthology follows, with “Public Fun” essentially 80 seconds of a displaced English housewife intoning the track’s title over a fuzzy soundscape.
The provenance of the other two tracks on this release is less clear. “LD 60” has a similarly creepy feeling as “Public Fun”, but this time the indistinct vocals belong to children and the textures are darker and more oblique. If you are looking for mystery, then you’ll find it on the final track, “Magic Words Command” where Kirk delivers a pulsing, bleary groove that leads into a wave of eerie synths. Most people will probably buy this record on the strength of the title track, but “Magic Words Command” exudes the kind of dark intent that makes the founding Cabaret Voltaire member such an enduring treasure.
A1. Never Lose Your Shadow
A2. Public Fun
B1. L.D. 60
B2. Magic Words Command