Mounting the stage with a promise of a different set to the previous night’s show at the same venue, Nik Void, Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti settle quickly into place behind a compact selection of effects boxes, mixers and other instruments. As the gig gets underway, the backdrop lit up by the slowly-cycling op-art imagery familiar from their début album projected overhead, the first audible and visual surprise is that Carter is flanked on either side by Void and Tutti, and they’re playing guitars. Certainly, both Factory Floor and CarterTutti have both always used the instrument, but it’s a striking image at odds with the sounds which the trio are generating. The electronic beat is strong, clear and propulsive, barely varying its base rhythm throughout the next 75 minutes or so, but the textures which all three smear over and around the hardy drum sounds are barely recognisable as coming from the guitars – at least not in any conventionally rockist way.Drenched in reverb and saturated with other effects. the sounds which switch from speaker to speaker ebb and flow with a dynamic range which embraces both clangs and ripples, and that somehow simultaneously manages to smother and crystallise the atmosphere in the room. Growling, buzzing tones surge out from under a white-lit glare as the rhythms and attendant scabrous noises become increasingly death-funky, as perhaps only two members of Throbbing Gristle and one of Factory Floor could make them, spiralling in mordant, moaning vortices of hard beats and chickawacka sprawls dripping with curlicues of electrical energy. As the set builds in immensity, it does so in seven stages of development, each progressively accelerating the eager anticipation of the crowd, the three musicians deploying subtle shifts across an enveloping cavalcade of rippling accretions. Chris and Cosey and in Throbbing Gristle are served up and redoubled, not least thanks to Void’s contributions of astringent texture and shade. Void is an implacable force, sometimes sawing determinedly at her guitar with a drumstick or violin bow with the air of someone giving her instrument a good, harsh telling off in case it should even consider becoming too melodic. Despite the seemingly unswerving beats, there is plenty of polyphonic and polyrhythmic activity going on as all manner of tightly-controlled chaos kicks off in multiple dimensions as the set develops in peaks of ecstatic noise and the purest of psychedelic grooves. echoed slathers of organic, living, breathing electronics which hover around the persistent drums, seemingly in sinister anticipation of an unspecified dread.
The music is by no means as dark as that description might make it sound; it’s more that there is a sense of urgency which overcomes the shamble – bop – chinstroke – natter modes of various sections of the crowd as Carter Tutti Void unleash their triumphant proto-industrial rave on the room. This being London, of course, few audience members are actively dancing; and if so, not too hard lest they lose their big city cool, despite the ecstatic sounds on offer. There’s plenty to respond to with the body rather than the mind, and the crowd does become more involved as CTV increase the pitch and ramp up the interplay between the functional core rhythm and the psychotropic shuffle of dubbed and distended, often almost nameless, sonics which crawl into the aether.the relentless Carter Tutti Void disruption of space, time and sound continues and continues and continues. So and until the inevitable comes: the loops and scrawls rewind and wind down into a roaring storm of applause… and they’re done.