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Carter Tutti - Feral Vapours of the Silver Ether

Feral Vapours of the Silver Ether is a departure from the pioneering subtle blend of atmospheric electronics released under their alter ego Chris and Cosey. Even though I'd clocked the tracks on their My Space site I didn't expect this. Feral Vapours... is a quietly comforting release, forging the acoustic with the electronic in a dreamy, sensual manner. Feral Vapours... is much more organic in its construction than what we've come to expect from Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti. There's a greater reliance on "real" instruments employed throughout. And that's the first surprise here. It's like they've recorded the album and then removed the melodic electronics that once defined their sound. What's left is a brittle skeletal framework of atmospheric synths and pulses, woven with strings, pianos, and cornet. After the subtle exploratory experimentalism of Cabal, Feral Vapours... is much more song based too with Cosey's voice more prevalent than ever. I love the sound of her northern accent here, offering a pure emotive element, to the subtle blending of electronic and acoustic on a release that's much more pastoral and serene than anything else they've ever lent their name to.

'Lowlands' is awash with vivid descriptons of the Norfolk landscape delivered in Cosey's hushed tones over soft atmo synths and gentle bass pulses. 'Woven Clouds' appears to touch on mortality (something that's increasingly affecting figures in industrial circles) and Cosey's own heart problems. It's a beautifully reflective track with yearning synths, plucked strings, and orchestral flourishes. A nice lounge feel is captured on 'Breathless Endings' with Cosey's multi-tracked voice resting on a backdrop of piano chords, marimba and understated electronics. And while 'Acid Tongue' sets Cosey's whispered tones over electronic pulses and industrial-lite rhythms, 'Torn Window' and 'Forest Floor' picks up on that contemplative and dreamy 4AD / Sigur Ros type thing, with evocative piano scores and subtle orchestral settings. Everything on Feral Vapours... is gently refracted and reflected, laced with subtle touches, and lyrics that touch upon nature and her elements. None more so than 'The Sun Shone That Day', whose sombre tones are created from Cosey's hushed whisperings of fond remembrance over melancholic piano, and mournful strings. Captivating stuff.

And while you can detect elements of their past work (the muted cornet on the loose improvisary opener 'So Slow The Knife'), and a nod to TG's Part Two: The Endless Not (especially the jazz lounge of 'Breathless Endings') Feral Vapours of the Silver Ether really maps out its own terrritory. It's a wonderfully mature and emotive piece of work, that frankly should have figured high in the end of year polls. Still that's no reason to miss out on this stunning collection of songs. Don't let it slip unnoticed, as Carter Tutti are on to something special here. Recommended.

Feral Vapours of the Silver Ether is available as a digital download (with an exclusive itunes download track), as a European version (on Conspiracy International) in jewel case and as a US release (on Divine Frequency) in digipak format. For more information go to