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Albums of the Year 2018: Chris Carter

Albums of the Year 2018: Chris Carter - Chemistry Lessons Volume 1

Drawing great influence from 60's radiophonic wonderment as well as the darker strains of traditional English folk music and wrapped up in an entire history textbook of industrial and electronic diaspora, Chris Carter’s first solo album in two decades Chemistry Lessons Volume 1 was a testament to his thirst and endless quest to craft innovative, mind-blowing electronic music.

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Chemistry Lessons Volume 1.1 - Coursework
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Having changed the electronic landscape with his central role as part of Throbbing Gristle, X-TG, Chris & Cosey, Carter Tutti, Carter Tutti Void to name but a few of his projects, Chemistry Lessons Volume 1 shows that even after all these years his thirst and endless quest to craft innovative, mind-blowing electronic music shows no sign of slowing down.

Recorded at his Norfolk studio which he shares with Cosey Fanni Tutti, Chris Carter's Chemistry Lessons Volume 1 offers those who take the class, a music that offers a distinctly futuristic form of learning. Its intrinsic and insistent melodic patterns are complemented perfectly by the sense of wonderment at the limitless possibilities of electronic music production that has run through the lifeline of his music since his earliest experiments to reach public consumption.

Drawing great influence from 60's radiophonic wonderment, the sleeve design brilliantly ties in with the music by taking cues from the battered old experimental BBC broadcast LPs of which can be found in the racks of charity shops across the land.

With the foundational blueprint for the album stretching back to audio experiments that were taking place within the previous decade alongside the sadly deceased Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson just before he passed away, Chris described going through a long grieving process following this which has manifested itself in some of the darker, more introspective tracks that appeared on the album.

“Sleazy and I had worked together on ways of developing a sort of artificial singing using software and hardware. This was me trying to take it a step further. I've taken lyrics, my own voice or people's voices from a collection that I'd put together with Sleazy, and I’ve chopped them up and done all sorts of weird things with them. I’d been accumulating a lot of material, just tracks and elements of tracks, and I was going to start putting it together just before Sleazy died,” he says. “That’s what completely threw me, and that’s partly why it’s taken so long, because of dealing with the shock of that.”

While we could bang on about it all day, Chemistry Lessons Volume 1 really is an exceptional LP and an important milestone within the electronic/industrial diaspora, showing that even after all these years Chris Carter has once again rewritten the rulebook.

The Radiophonic Workshop, Chris Liebing and Daniel Avery take home their Coursework from Chris Carter's excellently attended Chemistry Lesson Volume 1.

On page one, Chris Carter presents the vocoded fizzing techno track 'Bongo' mixing moments of his lab coat modular setup with frosted vocals that are pulled through a deliciously dub window. Daniel Avery moves things from the lab to the metal works with his clanking, industrial techno rewiring of 'Uysring'. While the second lesson sees The Radiophonic Workshop fittingly boil down 'Blissters' into a beaker of fizzing electronics, recalling some of our favourite musical moments from the pioneering experimenter's rich discography. While recent Mute Signing reduces 'Tones Map' into a hard-boiled techno number.

Consider this education of the highest grade.

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Top 10 Albums of the Year 2018

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