A wonderful sonic conversation between like-minded souls.
Luke Turner 2012-03-21
Cross-generational collaborations are generally dispiriting, vampiric affairs, with the haggard elders attempting to suck the lifeblood of credibility from young flesh, and the naive youth thinking a blessing from the old guard will somehow validate their contemporary flimflam. Madonna’s recent cavorting with M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj is a case in point, and the less said about The Doors vs Skrillex the better.
However, Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti, artists with more integrity than the national debt of Greece, can be trusted not to choose their sparring partners for the wrong reasons. For a start, they’re currently enjoying something of a public reappraisal. Following the sad demise of Throbbing Gristle in 2010, a series of performances under the Carter Tutti moniker have been received with rave reviews, as were the reissues of TG’s back catalogue late last year.
If it’s only now that their legacy as pioneers of electronic music is being recognised, then it’s apt that it has coincided with the arrival of London trio Factory Floor, one of the few groups who have come close to picking up the gauntlet set down both by Throbbing Gristle and Carter and Tutti’s later work together.
Factory Floor’s Nik Colk Void was asked by Carter and Tutti to join them for a live performance deep in the bowels of the London Roundhouse as part of the Mute label’s Short Circuit festival in the spring of 2011. Transverse is a recording of that packed performance (queues of fans desperate to get in stretched around the building), yet it should not be approached as a standard live album. Those usually are doomed by their very nature: gigs are an attempt to capture something mastered in a studio against the technical odds, and live recordings generally fail to capture the intangible spirit of being there.
Carter Tutti Void have achieved the exception. These four tracks – perhaps movements would be a more appropriate term – feel entirely alive, a spontaneous weld of anxious beats, the odd squirl of guitar and distortion, corrupted vocals and deep, chasmic bass. The motif that recurs throughout is that of pace, propulsive forward movement, the creative interplay between the three artists almost tangible in the listener’s ears. Prosaically, Transverse would make for a fine album to walk or run to, such is the energy contained within. Aside from that, it captures a wonderful sonic conversation between like-minded souls.