LISTEN: New Carter Tutti

Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti discuss new single 'Coolicon', plus listen to an exclusive stream of an edit of the track. Photograph by Jon Baker

After the success of Carter Tutti Void and last year’s Desertshore project, Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti are returning to their own material with their first single in over a decade, and a live set at London’s Heaven that ought to trouble Joseph Bazalette’s embankment with its vibrations of joy. ‘Coolicon’ – which you can watch Chris Carter’s video for below – takes its name from the metal lampshade used by Delia Derbyshire in her music-making, and comes in two parts, the more propulsive ‘Coolicon’ and its broken, murky partner ‘Coolicon-Fusion’. The tracks will come out on limited edition 10" green vinyl and download on May 20th, the day after the Carter Tutti Plays Chris & Cosey performance at Heaven, where they’ll be supported by Pan Sonic man Mika Vainio and Powell.

Chris and Cosey are now working on the Heaven set, remixes and various collaborations. Cosey’s include working on Simon Fisher Turner’s forthcoming soundtrack to The Epic Of Everest, and providing vocals for a project based around Fassbinder’s 1974 film, Martha. The Heaven performance will feature visuals generated by a newly-acquired video sampler, and we’re promised that it’ll be "pretty full-on" after an afternoon tweaking the sound with infamous TG soundman Charlie Poulet. "The best way to spend your Sunday," says Cosey.

And after that? Construction work in their Norfolk home and studio – "We’ve got the builders in," says Cosey, "and it’s not a euphemism". They’ll then begin work on the next Carter Tutti album for release in 2014, keen to keep moving forward. "I’m playing the stuff I did 30 years ago," says Cosey, "And I’ve got more that I want to be putting down and recording".

You can pre-order ‘Coolicon’ here, and keep an eye on the new Carter Tutti YouTube channel as they add classic videos over the coming weeks. We asked Chris and Cosey about the beginnings of this new phase of operation:

‘Coolicon’ (edit)

The first thing I noticed was the huge amount of space in the sound…

Chris Carter: We wanted it to have a slightly raw edge to it, but also have that Chris & Cosey breadth that we get on some tracks that we do. We wanted to have that spaciousness behind the track, it’s almost a subliminal effect in a way. It’s not our signature sound, but it’s something we’ve done a lot in the past.

Cosey Fanni Tutti: It’s just our preference in sound. We didn’t want this single to be like a studio track, we wanted to keep it as crisp as clean as we could from its initial inception. Chris was in the studio, and as usual I was cooking something – which is in the next room for those who don’t know – and he did the hook, and I went ‘oooo’, and he went ‘ooo that’s nice’. So we wanted to keep it like that, with this surprise that comes in and then it starts driving forward. We didn’t want to start layering it and layering it, and making it really dense and treacly. I’ve always liked it so you can appreciate the nuances and jump from one to the other when you listen to it different times, or when you’re dancing to it, shift from one rhythm to counter-rhythm, and then the melody will make you skip about a bit, then you come back to the main rhythm again. It’s not that I don’t like techno or anything like that, I’m just not a fan of something that does the same thing from beginning to end, it drives me nuts. I don’t get out of my head, so I notice it’s just been doing the same thing for six minutes. I’ve not gone anywhere else, because I’m not drug-induced!

CC: Originally it was going to be all one track, and could have been an album track, but then we decided they sounded good on their own and said ‘let’s do it as a single’.

So it’s the first new Carter Tutti track. Were you trying to start stuff for a bit, then this was the moment where you thought ‘that’s it!’

CFT: We hadn’t been trying to start anything. What happens when we’re recording is there’s a certain point that you realise a track isn’t a Desertshore track or a TG track or a Chris Carter or mine, it’s definitely got potential for a Chris & Cosey / Carter Tutti sound, so we always put it to one side and revisit it.

It must feel interesting to get back to Carter Tutti material after Desertshore

CFT: Desertshore and Final Report were so well received, and I don’t feel trepidation about that, because they were specific projects in their own right, a satellite running in parallel to what we do.

The satellite projects have done really well…

CC: Like Carter Tutti Void, nobody saw that coming, least of all the three of us. ‘What the fuck? What’s going on here?’ And it’s still going on now, people are still discovering the album now. Both those projects in the same year, you couldn’t have planned that, the way it came together.

So did the Coolicon give this release its identity?

CC: It did… I went to the Science Museum to see the [Radiophonic Workshop] exhibition and they had it in a glass case, and we managed to get one. We hadn’t done anything with it for ages, and it wasn’t in the single at the beginning, but then we spent a day sampling Cosey playing it with different instruments, bowing it and tapping it, blowing through it.

CFT: The violin bow was quite amazing. The pitch!

CC: That whole thing came together, we decided to call it ‘Coolicon’ and use those sounds in there. It’s nothing like Delia Derbyshire, though, in any way.

CFT: To use the word, which is such a key word in her work, in the title was a reference to someone we admire a lot. And to make it a generic title, rather than a love song or anything.

CC: Most people will be scratching their heads thinking ‘what on earth is a Coolicon?’ It’s the company that made them, I don’t think they do any more.

Are they the things they use for UFOs?

CFT: Yes… they’re quite iconic objects, yet they’re so mundane and benign in what they do, in their function, yet people took them and did all kinds with them.

CC: They’re nearly always green….

CFT: …institutional green.

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