Chemistry Lessons Volume 1 is the first new solo release from Chris Carter in almost two decades, easily one of the most quietly influential artists within electronic music today. 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 as well as the darker strains of traditional English folk music, 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.