Music From Memory's sub-label revisits four Richard H. Kirk-produced house tracks.
Sandoz - Sandoz
In the realm of reissues, Sandoz isn't the deepest dig. These tracks, made by Richard H. Kirk of Cabaret Voltaire in the the early '90s, have been released in various forms down the years, and you can open your preferred streaming platform to hear them. They featured on a boxset, #9294, that was released by Mute in 2016, so you could hardly say they'd flown under the radar. Still, this release has things going for it. For one, it would previously have cost you an unreasonable amount of money to own the tracks on vinyl. Second, they sit very comfortably next to the rest of the Second Circle catalogue, highlighting a link between what Kirk was doing back then and what the label's roster of contemporary artists are doing today (this is the first archival release on Second Circle). Both seem to look far and wide for inspiration, cultivating a humid sound with a global outlook.
Fans of Sweet Exorcist, Kirk's project with Richard Barratt that helped define the sound of Sheffield bleep through its releases on Warp in the early '90s, should get a kick out of these tracks, even as the robo vibes are replaced with something more human. Both projects are suffused with the wide-eyed atmosphere of so much great house music from the time, and there's a sort of wiggle in the mid-range you might recognise from Sweet Exorcist cuts like "Clonk (Freebass)." "Chocolate Machine," in particular, has post-rave dreaminess in abundance, the bass, strings and synths generating a bliss state. The mellow electro of "Beam" might evoke B12, another act from Warp's early years. "Human Spirit" has chants that sound like Afrobeat samples. Younger listeners probably won't associate Kirk with dance floor music quite as lovely as Sandoz, perhaps a further reason for this release to exist.
Thu / 19
A1 Human Spirit
B1 Chocolate Machine
B2 Steel Tabernacle