Carter Tutti Void - TransverseTransverse is a live recording of the collaboration that took place between Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti and Nik Void as part of Mute Records Short Circuit festival at the Roundhouse in London in 2011. Prepared and rehearsed in the studio over a few days at Carter Tutti's studio in Norfolk, Transverse is an untreated document of that one-off live performance.
The collaboration at least on paper may not have been unlikely. After the sad demise of TG following the as-of-yet unexplained walkout by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and the untimely passing of Peter Christopherson, Chris Carter stood in as a replacement for electronic supremo, Dominic Butler, for a couple of Factory Floor live performances in Barcelona and London. In an interview with The Quietus Chris Carter confirmed his appreciation of Factory Floor: "They were amazing, the energy in their performance and live sound was the closest thing to TG we'd ever seen." Nik Void, herself, was a member of Kaito who released a number of releases on Paul Smith's Mute subsidiary label Blast First. So keeping with Mute's desire for collaboration between Mute artists at Short Circuit the scene was set. And it helped that Paul Smith was manager to the revived TG and Blast First Petite, his own label, was home to a number of recent Factory Floor releases.
That however doesn't account for the fluency of the collaboration. It wasn't just a happy accident; Nik Void brings a physical presence to the third mind at work here on this, subtle, magickal recording combining machine beats with spontaneous improvisation.
Transverse dispenses with typical song titles for a series of pieces titled 'v1' to 'v4'. The opening one, 'v1', is set to a heartbeat pulse loaded with expansive industrial effects. Cosey adds abrasive guitar scratching tones, while Nik Void contributes rhythmic bowed guitar effects. The entire piece is drip fed with tumbling effects, propelled by the insistent flickering heart rhythm. It like most of the tracks here passes the 10 minute mark but really it passes in a, uh, heartbeat - to use the title of the first Chris and Cosey album. The second piece, 'v2', ratchets up a level with a harsher rhythm but still at a heartbeats pace. Cosey's wordless accompaniment is pitch-shifted with a mesmerising interplay between the guitars and rhythms. Counter rapid rhythms are unleashed, while electronics chug alongside jolts of abrasive buzz.
The rhythms on 'v3' are more tribal than industrial, pounding like a digeridoo as Cosey's treated voice is reduced to a series of wails in tune with the Aboriginal feel. Occasionally rattling metallic hyper rhythms are unleashed, while guitars chime in with discordant and abrasive tones. When compared to preceding tracks 'v4' is much denser. The heartbeat pulse remains a constant, but there are massive quaking effects of dub proportions. The guitars here are layered achieving a sense of guitar noise: rhythmic and riddled with buzz effects, as rhythms ricochet.
Transverse pummels with TG-esque rhythms and while I don't want or need to keep referencing TG as it's fair to say that Transverse also captures a groove that is mined seamlessly. Transverse captures something that I've only felt on Tony Conrad and Faust's sublime Outside The Dream Syndicate and on the most immersive moments of a live TG recording. Yet surprisingly it's the sparseness of sound that really gets me. There's a space between that's evident here. Whether it was pre-planned or just a reluctance to fill the spaces, it allows the rhythms to drive this forward, and those rhythms never remain static, each track features bursts of rapid rhythms and counter rhythms, that takes this into new places before returning to the basic - and these really are quite basic - rhythms. This is what makes Transverse so successful. Each musician never displaces the other; they complement and add something vital. Transverse was undertook as a one-off, and as much as it pains me to say this, given that my friends asked and I declined to go - balancing work and kids as a single parent ain't easy - I know I missed something special. This is a wonderfully immersive recording wrapped in up in a dizzying Bridget Riley styled op art sleeve. For more information go to mute.com