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Carter Tutti Void — f (x)

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Despite f (x) being the second Carter Tutti Void album, it’s their first studio release. The trio of Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti (Throbbing Gristle, Chris and Cosey, X-TG, Carter Tutti) along with Nik Void (Factory Floor) recorded their debut record Transverse live for Mute Records’s Short Circuit festival at The Roundhouse in 2011. The results were an incantatory rhythmic pulse of simple drum machine beats, over which these three masters of sonic terror tore a wake of destruction in the form of treated guitars, samples, synths, and vocals. It was one of 2012’s great records, and the intuitive, on-the-fly nature of the proceedings recalled the way Throbbing Gristle created their best work, if it were funky enough to actually dance to.

For the follow-up, the trio bring back their distinctive metallic guitar sound, resounding bass lines, industrial rhythms, and processed vocals, but with an increased clarity, a greater sense of purpose, and a more composed sense of tension and release. Elements stand on their own, where once they may have been buried in the spiraling sonic muck.

Carter generated the initial industrial techno rhythmic bones of this record on his own. The trio then convened in Chris and Cosey’s home studio and recorded three largely improvised run-throughs of music, editing the resulting album together from them. You can hear Nik and Cosey’s bizarre processed guitar and vocal contributions, lots of Ableton-based sampling and sequencing, custom Machinedrum thumps, looping Kaoss pads, and ominous bass rumbles. It’s a lot to take in, and rewards repeated listens. The three artists’ styles meld nicely, despite the marked differences between their other projects, and it can be difficult to tell who did what, at the end of the day.

The six tracks on f (x), mostly in the six to ten minute range, offer plenty of aesthetic cohesion amongst themselves and their predecessors on Transverse, but they stand out on their own as well. Opener “f = (2.4)” begins gently, giving a window into the way these three people slowly and steadily build up their tracks from humble beginnings into something magnificent. “f (2.6)” and “f = (2.2)” are danceable and funky like Void’s work in Factory Floor or some of Chris and Cosey’s ’80s output. “f = (2.3)” is, well… it’s downright scary… and I love it.

This album is a confident and purposeful statement from three of the master craftspeople of dark electronic music, and a welcome addition to their impressive catalogs. Give it a couple spins. You won’t be disappointed.

f (x) is out now via Industrial Records on limited Edition white vinyl, CD, and Download.

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