Carter Tutti, "Feral Vapours of the Silver Ether"

Saturday, 01 December 2007 17:00 John Kealy Reviews - Albums and Singles
cover image The second album since the adoption of the more formal sounding name of Carter Tutti is a strange beast. The title of the album made me expect a more violent and frenetic style but the duo show that being feral is not all about bared teeth and naked aggression. Feral can be more beautiful and tender than any tamed creature or thought. The music is wild in that it is free from much outside influence. Immediately it is obvious that no matter what the name on the CD case is, this is the same animal at heart.


Divine Frequency

There is a delicate and serene mood to Feral Vapours of the Silver Ether; the quiet piano melody of "Torn Window" is one of the loveliest things Carter and Tutti have done under any name. The imagery Cosey employs throughout the album is equally gorgeous; metaphysical and poetic at the same time, the ghost of William Blake haunting her lyrics. Almost a whisper and full of hope, her vocals are very much the silver ether of the album's title. Her voice is perfectly matched by her mournful cornet blasts, as primal as always but with a more controlled force. Chris Carter's electronic treatments and rhythms are barely there but add definition to the airy atmospheres, like thin embellishments with oils on a watercolour painting.

Compared to Chris and Cosey's other big album of the year (Throbbing Gristle's Part Two: The Endless Not), this is a far more satisfying release. Where I found the new TG to be good but far from a return to form (especially after the excellent TG Now from a couple of years ago), Feral Vapours… is as solid as any of Chris and Cosey's previous releases. There are some similar sonic territories being explored here as on Part Two (as expected really), the quieter and jazzier side of Part Two evidently owed a lot to this half of the group. "Breathless Endings" is of a similar vibe to TG's "Rabbit Snare"; a kind of dark blue.

With Feral Vapours…, Carter Tutti continue to progress. The pastoral approach they have adopted in recent years is as engaging as the more robust and danceable beats of Chris and Cosy. In all honesty I prefer this new approach, much like when Coil embraced their moon music fully and entered the most interesting part of their career. Whether this is going to be a long-term engagement with the gentler side of their music is anyone's guess but for now Carter Tutti are definitely piquing my interest more than Chris & Cosey did.