Switched On – Carter Tutti Void: Triumvirate (Conspiracy International)

reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

This is the third and sadly final volume in which the trio of Chris Carter, Cosey Fanni Tutti and Nik Colk Void join forces – Carter and Tutti being half of Throbbing Gristle, and Void from Factory Floor. The interchangeable trio can operate as solo artists in their own right, but when they unite improvisation is the watchword of the day.

There is a distinct lack of ceremony to their work together, the six tracks on this collaboration referred to as simply T 3.1 and so on. They are not quite presented in order, suggesting the improvisation runs to the album sequence as well as the music itself.

What’s the music like?

Dark and propulsive, like a lumbering machine. With rolling bass and low slung rhythms T 3.2 comes in like the machine cranking into life, sporting a mid-tempo and slightly dubby profile that sounds superbly moody. It sets a guide for the rest of the album, which proceeds with similarly dark colours but is a compelling listen.

T 3.5 is the sort of track that would benefit from visuals, like the soundtrack to a game or movie yet to be written. Again there is a dark presence in the music, but the effects, disembodied voice of Cosey and fulsome beats combine to make an incredibly descriptive piece of work.

T 3.3 is slightly more acidic and industrial, powered again by an insistent rhythm, the machine now in fine form – and it continues to work well in T 3.1 through a chugging beat that sounds a little like mid-period Orb. The foreground features all kinds of metallic flashes and flickers, as though the trio are welding their music live, and the longer the track goes the more mischievous the interventions become.

Finally T 3.6, monotone like many of the others, plays effective games with its sonic perspective and builds rich layers of sounds that are slate-like in colour.

Does it all work?

Yes, Triumvirate offers an incredibly solid counterpoint to the first two releases, and goes about its business in a refreshingly direct way. There is something thrilling about the music’s construction, its industrial sounds that love to reference the thrill of early dub-infused house as their metallic profiles take shape. It would doubtless be brilliant live.

Is it recommended?

Yes. Heavy and brooding it may be, but the construction of Triumvirate is fascinating to take in, glinting in the darkness and working its magic to great effect on headphones.