This collaboration between Chris Carter, Cosey Fanni Tutti and Nik Colk Void
captures a live set recorded at London's Roundhouse last year. The management
of raw noise doesn't get much better than this. Against a cardiac rhythmic
pulse, the four numbers ('V1, V2, V3 & V4') weave startling industrial soundscapes
from the metronomic/hypnotic foundations of the basic thematic elements. A solid
percussive framework underpins the performances, decorated with layer upon layer
of grinding electric guitar, electronic turbulence and occasional distorted vocals.
If this all sounds a bit arcane don't despair! There's enough colour, texture and
dynamic variation on offer to keep us engaged and enthralled from top to tail.
Despite the unrelenting mechanical nature of the music it manages to appeal to
both the body and the mind. 'V4', in particular, with its almost cheeky syncopated
beats, is just about danceable in a happy-robot-in-a-silicon-scrapyard kind-of way!
I rather wish I'd been there to experience this dark rite for myself!
Listening to it recreated here is, nonetheless, a very close second best.
Hypnotic pounding electro beats given the "special" treatment by two former throbbing gristlers - composing, evoking and conjuring the electronic sounds to work their alchemy to entice the machines to surrender their innards so the resonances get into the diodes, synapses and the CNS of their victims. Composed principally to jerk the electronic signals within the nervous system into a dialectical arrangement, a symbiosis operating between an apple mac via the vitalist spark of musical notes to provoke the arrival of the dancing machine.
Except, the two alchemists incorporate older primal worlds within a shamanistic experience.
It moves this beyond the bland futurist shuffle of an e dropped on the floor of the office party and a scuttle on the hands and knees to retrieve it. Instead it is a rush back into a Jungian Dionysian collective consciousness of lithe bodies locked in trances. Harkening back to the whoosh of those beltane fires, she witches crooning, hypnotism and lysergic communal bodies intertwining. All done in a Reichian ecstasy - this plays to the dropped out bliss, not the drug rolling around on the floor. Enter a world that refuses to be acknowledged.
So it backgdrops everything opposed to the sterile swapping of bank account notes and the insipid flap of body fluids occurring within the modern group speak of the pig pen party - where the herd remain shuffle around to the sounds of a good night out.
I love this album, but usually such delights are accompanied by some po-faced treatise of worthiness by an earnest young man with a severe haircut and a petulant stare. I have my own thoughts and hopefully these may lead you to investigate. You really do not need a degree in artiness to like this stuff, just an open mind.
V1. Starts off like a metronomic burping rhino that is treading as carefully as he (or she ) can over milk bottles, (NB gender of aforementioned beast is ill-defined). Some of the bottles are damaged in the process. Meanwhile birds twitter overhead as a giant bee is trapped in one of the milk bottles. There appear to be a troop of monkeys generally chattering and playing with their light sabres (for the purposes of this review I will assume ownership is not in doubt.). Track gradually fades out to the sound of tennis balls .
V2. Bit if a thumper this one. Nice rhythm going on , low end piano by the sound of it plus a bit of heavy comb & paper action. Suddenly Cosey blows her nose and is seemingly desperate to sneeze - alas unsuccessful . Grief and panic follows. The piano-man is however pretty constant and is soon joined by gratuitous sandpaper-woman. Shakers appear frequently and hark back to those first days in the Primary School Orchestra (happy days!). Just when you think it couldn't get any better , someone decides to finish the last drops of cola through a straw (not sure who, as this is a niche instrument and no-one is listed. ) This is swiftly followed by group handkerchief use - pretty glad I wasn't in the front row for this one. Around the 8 minute marker all hell breaks loose and most of Dr Who's 1960's sound effects are used up at once. The cola bottle later reappears to finish the track off nicely.
V3. The reappearance of the Giant Bee & Rhino. Not sure if this caused much hilarity in the audience as no-one clapped. I was however happy as I kind of digged them the first time around. It's a tad lighter in tone to V2. Nice groove worked up here. Second appearance of vocals albeit treated ... probably with some strong mouth wash followed by some rusty nails. Massed typewriters appear launching into the spot normally reserved for a guitar solo. Judging by the ripple of righteous applause that greeted the end of the track, the thought of Steve Vai shredding an Underwood No 5 obviously tickled the crowd`s fancy .
V4. The penultimate track of the CD and last "live one" is a stormer. Having wound up slowly, Chris , Cosey and Nikki obviously decide to pull everything out the bag . Plungers, pots, pans, an airhose from the tumble dryer. At around 6:20 we hear the well-known ruler-being-pulled tight-against-the-desk trick. This usually brought the roof down when I used this in the Science class and it still works in this context. Obviously I was not as adept but I can dream.
V4 (studio): Probably best to treat this as a continuation to the live version. A few more extra bells & whistles.
I commend this CD to the House.