13 June 2006


sandoz in dubAnother new release from 'the Godfather', Richard H. Kirk, released this month. Following on from his EP for Sheffield imprint Dust Science comes a longplayer on the mighty Soul Jazz label, in both CD and vinyl formats. This is great, because until recently it seemed that Kirk was becoming an increasingly isolated figure, releasing music sporadically through his own Intone label, which, last year (presumably in a cost-cutting experiment) started releasing MP3-only collections via iTunes. But even Kirk can't convince me to pay money for a 128kbps MP3. Thankfully he still has support from those who believe in him, and this luxurious double-vinyl set with excellent sleeve graphics is making me very happy indeed.

"Live In The Earth" is a new selection under his Sandoz alias, which he first started using in the early '90s as a vehicle for his solo 'dubby techno' output, running in parallel with his work in Sweet Exorcist (bleeps, bass & clonks) and Cabaret Voltaire (then entering their final stage as ambient technocrats). This collection focuses on Kirk's long-standing love of dub reggae, combining skanked-out hairtrigger guitar flicks, deep chugging basslines, horn section fanfares and liberal use of sampled Rastafarian polemic with hard, repetitive electronics, crisp dancefloor beats and washes of analogue melody. Sounds familiar? Yes, but there's no dubstep influence here (apparently Kirk failed to show for the Digital Mystikz gig in Sheffield recently, which is a shame cos I'm sure he would've understood it immediately). No, this is a continuation of a project that began with "Chant To Jah", an album originally released on the Touch label back in 1998 (subsequently re-issued by Soul Jazz) and its a very personal interpretation of 'roots 'n' futurism'. As always, it was recorded alone at his private Western Works studio in Sheffield. You can practically taste the dust on his ancient mixing desk. But you only have to adjust the pitch up to +2 and these grooves will mix nicely with anything from the latest generation of dubwise producers. Not bad for a guy who must be pushing 50 years old by now, eh?

Buy directly from Soul Jazz or all good record stores.