Thursday 18 September 2014

Carter Tutti Void and EIIII at Oslo, Hackney - 16 September 2014

Carter Tutti Void

There’s a lot of black in here. We’re here to listen to a certain type of music and this means a certain type of dress code.

We arrive as the first act gets started. A woman peers intently at a lap top and occasionally makes adjustments to some equipment beside it.

This is EIIII, a name I have much fun pronouncing.

At first it doesn’t appear that anything is happening and the crowd continues to chatter. However, things start to change…

…I’m aware that the back of my jacket is blowing back from my body and that my ribcage appears to be pulsing and vibrating. We are in the world of infrasound, frequencies that are so incredibly low that they are all but inaudible.

The crowd continues to talk, now conscious of the noise that throbs through the room. EIIII continues to stare at her lap top with a look of determination. She looks like a sonar operator who has just discovered a nasty ‘blip’ on her scanner.

It’s an interesting experience, but it still comes as a relief when the sound occasionally whistles up into a more traditional pitch, even though this in turn starts to make your ears bleed.

Carter TuttiVoid are what used to be called a supergroup. Chris Carter and Cosey fanni Tutti are famously members of Throbbing Gristle as well as frequent co-collaborators and Nik Colk Void is currently part of experimental techno-rockers Factory Floor.

Carter stands at the back of the stage and busies himself with piles of electronic equipment. He goes about his work unfussily, his face a mixture of gentle concentration and the contented half-smile of a man taking pleasure in a hobby.

He lays down a succession of skittering rhythms and beats that flicker and thrum, propelling the crowd into that twitchy type of dancing you do when you are really enjoying yourself but don’t have the room to really cut loose.

Stage right, Cosey is smartly attired in a black sparkly frock and clutches a bass guitar that looks like a long piece of melted plastic. She gets gradually more animated as the evening progresses and it is she who sporadically addresses the crowd or provides a wordless vocal that is distorted and delayed.

Nik Void stands to the left, bobbing about and, as was her habit when playing with Norwich ahead-of-their-time post punks KaitO, playing her guitar with a drumstick or occasional violin bow.

Each song is a propulsive groove which allows space for Tutti and Void to riff over. It’s bewitching stuff.

So compelling is this music that it comes as a disappointment when a track has to end, generally around the ten minute mark, with Carter either switching off his beat or abruptly changing the pace and heading off to sonic pastures new.

The hour flies by. Carter Tutti Void leave the stage to roars of approval, including mine.

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