A good decade before DJs like Tiesto, Paul Van Dyk, and others began using the term to signify music that was a dreamy, well-polished, dancefloor-filling tonic, Throbbing Gristle members Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti were labeling their synthetic output "trance" in a way that would have been approved by William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, and others looking for that perfect hypnopompic state. The head trip was more LSD than ecstasy and the music more headphones than dancefloor, something post-millennium bands like Factory Floor returned to on their droney disco journey toward the heart of the loop. On Transverse, the two generations meet as Chris & Cosey are joined by Factory Floor guitarist Nik Coik (aka Nik Void) for an improvisational set recorded live at London's Roundhouse during the Mute label's Short Circuit festival in 2011. The results should satisfy any post-industrial shaman with warm, slowly developing, and often cavernous synth soundscapes providing the welcoming base. Cosey's vocals -- a unique combination of detached and certain -- are always at home in this atmosphere, and Void's art-noise guitar work -- bowed, plucked, or otherwise -- once again proves she is simpatico with machines (sequencers and drum machines would ring her up for jam sessions if they could). These two touches, along with some creaks and groans beamed in from deep space, provide this dream machine's "flicker" and allow for multiple levels of engagement, working fine if you just turned on your work station or licked a psychoactive toad. Still, the perfect complement is active listening as this free-flowing work remains engaging throughout, thanks to its participants chemistry and shared sense of purpose. The jack booted Gristle fans used to call it "magick" and often with levity, but the organic/mechanic Transverse also goes back to the Crowley spelling of the word, where "the reconciliation between free will and destiny" is at the heart of every experiment.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries