TRIUMVIRATE lands after an exceptionally busy couple of years overhauling and reconstituting the back catalogues of Chris Carter, Cosey Fanni Tutti and Throbbing Gristle, and the high-grade reissues keep coming, including the very recently announced re-mastered editions of four key Chris & Cosey albums (although why 1985’s TECHNØ PRIMITIV is skipped over is somewhat of a mystery).
None of this is a creative crutch however, and despite it being a lot for the obsessives to keep up with, quality new material has kept these artists on a consistently inventive and forward trajectory.
The final live performance of CARTER TUTTI VOID was in 2017 and although a third album was announced as unfinished business some time ago, a heavy schedule of productivity from all involved meant that TRIUMVIRATE simply had to lurk patiently on the blackboard list or a hard drive … or wherever these things lurk before becoming tangible product.
The general quality of CARTER TUTTI VOID’s previous releases also meant that a substantial closing statement was required – and this doesn’t disappoint…
TRIUMVIRATE seems like the perfect conclusion for the three-way power sharing executive/sonic dictatorship of Nik Void, Cosey Fanni Tutti and Chris Carter. It is bountiful with subtle menace, compelling rhythms, chunky synths and anti-dialogues of noise.
In keeping with the track labeling of previous releases, these are simply “T3.1” to “T3.6”, as if the work was from a random product reference manual or requirements specification. The functionality of this creates a definite marker for the material, one that aids in separating it from the typically sensual, ominous or esoteric titles of the Chris & Cosey/Carter Tutti catalogues.
T3.2 sets the pace of the album with heavy strobing waves of sound and metallic clanging. As the most beat driven offering of the group, TRIUMVIRATE presents itself as an inventively decorated and embellished spine rather than resorting to the construction traditions of flesh-on-bone music.
T3.3’s playful sub bass builds up into a rich pulsating foundation for the sporadic shreds of Cosey Fanni Tutti and Nik Void’s guitar generated noise – This is guitar shredding in the real sense and has zero relation to bouffant and theory-happy fret-wank heroics.
T3.4 introduces the synthetic flutter of unspecified critters laced with fractured shards of analogue and digital debris. As the beat rises, the first elements of what is an identifiable human voice floats onto the album, although this is a spectral texture inhabiting the track and nothing that some rulebook or other may recognise as a “vocal”.
The airy T3.5 opens side 2 of the album with resonant monolithic synth lines, random flavours of noise and indecipherable vocal wafts.
T3.1’s wrought blocks of noise are sparse, randomly issuing shrapnel and channeling something more urgent as a steadfast beat drives the track without any destination in mind.
Finally, T3.6 feels like it has reached either the bowel or the outskirts of the TRIUMVIRATE mission and the punctuations seem subdued and distant in places. And after 42 final minutes on the CARTER TUTTI VOID flywheel, the pangs of turbulence and rhythm fade away as if to provide a cyclic join right back to the opening bursts of TRANSVERSE, sealing this off as a self-contained oeuvre.
TRIUMVIRATE effortlessly plays with opposites – it is freeform and structured, dense and sparse, chaotic and meditative, ambient and industrial – To an unwilling ear it is all most likely an exercise in rhythmic dirge, but to anyone who values their noise disruptive, progressive and leftfield, the payoff is considerable.
I am going to miss this intoxicating collaboration, but if it hints at the possibility of something new from Carter Tutti on the horizon (along with some back catalogue TLC) then there’s very little reason to complain!