Albums of the week

26.03.12 Words by: Ruth Saxelby

Carter Tutti Void – ‘Transverse’ [Mute]
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The notion of the legendary gig, that unmissable moment you inevitably missed, seems to belong to a previous era. The Sex Pistols at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall, Public Enemy at Hammersmith Odeon in ’87, Throbbing Gristle’s ‘Prostitution Show’ at the ICA – take the venue’s capacity and double it, and that’s the number of people who’ll swear, “I was there.” Talking of Throbbing Gristle – those perverse pioneers of avant-garde noise and what became known as ‘industrial’ – the latest release from the group’s alumni is a recording made at the Mute label’s Short Circuit festival at the Roundhouse last May.

Performing in the venue’s tiny secondary space rather than the main hall, only a few hundred of the festival’s ticketholders bore witness to Carter Tutti Void on stage, but now Mute is releasing the performance – four tracks over 40 minutes, plus an extra studio version of the final track – for general consumption. Comprising Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti of TG and Nik Void of industrial resurrectionists Factory Floor, ‘Transverse’ is a guttural rasp from the ravaged carcass of machine music, a white-hot flash of metal-on-metal that leaves blistered skin and ears in its wake. You probably weren’t there, but with this bleak and visceral artefact of performance (beautifully mastered, by the way) you can at least make an passable pretence of having being exposed to it in the flesh. [CR]
Stream Carter Tutti Void – ‘Transverse’ [Mute]

DVA ‘Ugly Pretty’ [Hyperdub]
Former Rinse FM breakfast DJ Scratcha DVA’s debut album is colourful, loud, pretty and ugly. It’s a defiantly maximalist record, full of big synths, big hooks and big feelings. Alongside such producers as Royal-T and Champion, his sound combines grit and rude bounce (listen to the sheer grimey-ness of the drums on Polyphonic Dreams) with bright melodies and a sense of fun. It’s an album more in the Terror Danjah school of sci-fi hugeness than the minimal futurism of eski, and is all the better for it. [CRJ]
Buy DVA ‘Ugly Pretty’ [Hyperdub], or listen to it below

Addison Groove ‘Transistor Rhythm’ [50 Weapons]
Addison Groove’s Footcrab was one of the strongest tunes of 2010, and is credited, rightly or wrongly, with introducing the maddening, sublime complexities of Chicago juke to British dancefloors. Which is ironic, because it’s a sublimely dumb track – a flipped vocal sample, some massive, unfinished drums and a barely there hook. Oddly, that simplicity, which made footwork palatable over the length of a track, makes Transistor Rhythm such a trying listen – there’s just not enough ideas here to really warrant 13 songs. Aside from Sooperlooper, no song here absolutely fails, and all are decent enough set-fodder, but as 13 songs not really cutting the mustard. [CRJ]
Buy Addison Groove ‘Transistor Rhythm’ [50 Weapons]

Leftfield ‘Tourism’ [Field Note Records]
In the current issue of The Wire is a lovely piece by Simon Reynolds exploring how the fundamental shifts in the way we access music has had a inevitable impact on how we listen. “We are all David Toop now,” says Reynolds, referencing the hugely influential music critic and author who became known for his very literal to-the-end-of-the-earth approach to seeking out new-to-his-ears sounds. Except we don’t need to leave the house to travel the world and back: we are spoilt but are we richer, wonders Reynolds. Listening to ‘Tourism’, a new live album recorded during Leftfield’s 2011 Australian comeback tour after a decade in retirement, Reynold’s feature is front and centre in my mind because I can’t surrender to this album. I can’t appreciate it for what it is because I am too aware of what it was. Leftfield were – are? – a seminal electronic duo who made some of the most important music in the UK in the 1990s. And yet, much of this album feels flat, which is a little disconcerting for a live album. The big tracks – Phat Planet and Melt – are still the big tracks, the latter in particular still connecting in the same way it did when I was a teenager in the East Midlands. But for the most part I am left wondering where the shine has gone – and, if in fact, it’s not the music’s fault but my overstimulated ears. [RS]
Listen to clips of Leftfield ‘Tourism’ [Field Note Records] below

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