Factory Floor - Factory Floor | Album Review | By Volume

I'm afraid of heaven because I can't stand the height. I'm afraid of you because I can't be left behind. St. Vincent - Regret

Factory Floor

Factory Floor

Repetition on overdrive, Factory Floor have created an infectious and danceable debut.

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Author: and on October 8, 2013
September 9, 2013

“The joy of repetition really is in you.” So goes the Hot Chip classic, “Over and Over”, and while Factory Floor don’t have all that much in common with their new DFA label-mates , it’s important that they share this. Embracing the mantra of repetition is the one prerequisite needed to live on DFA, and also to love Factory Floor’s debut. Characteristics that made the label so unique and insatiable in their initial years are amped up as the album channels nearly every one of their facets: explosive punk-disco that concedes to techno and industrial tendencies, bringing to mind an electronic jam session full of strong ideas. The trio incorporate a strange, genius concoction of influences, akin to the likes of peers YACHT and The Juan Maclean – even Nik Colk Void’s vocal work reflects a touch of Claire Evans. What ties them all in together, the foundation stone of their family values, is danceability. Call it boogie; it’s what carries their music. Whatever constrictions we might place on Factory Floor – genres, labels, comparisons – the real asset is the groove: relentless and immense, it eventually overpowers listeners into sweet, sweet submission. Factory Floor is on perpetual overdrive, creepy, white-knuckled and wonderful.

Factory Floor, as a debut album, is a celebration as much as it is a clean slate. Earlier releases from the group lingered in the realms of noise and it was only after Void joined synth-and-effects whiz Dom Butler (who used to play solo under the alias Void, suspiciously) and drummer Gabe Gurnsey, that the group begin to find their feet, with the propensity to move them too. This revitalisation is evident looking at the increasingly creative output in their discography from 2010, resulting in “Two Different Ways”, an odyssey of their potential that eventually made it to the album, wherein new-found swing and jack in demo form was enough to convince Jonathan Galkin to sign the trio up. Factory Floor continues that forthright streak; “Turn It Up” isn’t a tentative intro, but a mission statement, whether listeners like it or not – no false pretences, no slogans or by-lines. This is just raw sound, tribal percussion arrogantly strutting over the kicks, and an odd, ghostly distorted voice flying overhead. There’s a wealth of sounds to get lost in, so crisp and well-layered that you feel the pockets of air around beats despite the lack of reverb which so many others would opt for. Surprising amounts of layers are stacked in each song, and more than simple track builds – the music becomes incredibly dense, heavy in the best sense. But Factory Floor doesn’t weigh you down, instead they play with movement, and the joy one finds in that repetition. The percussion is nearly flawless at times, which says a lot considering a good portion of these songs are built on loops.

Loops upon loops upon loops. They serve as the principle structure of Factory Floor; there’s a noticeable absence of melodies, which is telling of the group’s attitude. The loops swell and build like chapters of a story dependent on previous entries, sewing and interweaving the narrative. Production of seven minute tracks might stem from forty-five minute pieces, and “Fall Back” is said to have been formed from a six-hour long recording session either side of the tune. This is why it works: it’s all jam sessions. Musicality is present, but more important is primal and innate creativity, all three members singularly focused, each keeping to themselves, before reaching a crux where dissonance stretches so far that the waves and oscillations become in-step again. This resonance is reached organically and is siphoned into the album’s pieces, allowing the seemingly haphazard music to coalesce into tightly-knit, flowing tunes. The record’s defining aspect, these intense grooves that come across as effortless, are formed as Factory Floor happen upon excellence; there’s no need to strive for greatness.

“Repetition is the platform for free thinking,” Gurnsey declares . The group’s belief in this, that it serves as a platform to take away restraints from new ideas, is promoted on record as tracks probe outwards. Music becomes more than just something to dance to, or listen to – it’s something to work to, or live to. This understanding separates Factory Floor from other albums as aggressive as it – instead of tearing you off the wall, it decides on a wink, finger-waggle and a slight tug to draw you towards the floor. You’ll feel it though; the album is somewhat abrasive for those more tuned in to the poppier sides of electronic, uninitiated to the experimental, and can occasionally be a bit one-note with its intensity. On the whole, though, they seem to bottle the renowned, vigorous ferocity of their live shows and transcribe it to track. It deserves, implores and almost screams to be heard loud, to drench listeners in the groove. Despite the odd moment where things drag on (when so many ideas are tried, it’s not unusual to occasionally misfire), it’s a sonic swamp that is a joy to get lost in.

Factory Floor is by no means a serious record. “Work Out”, which serves as an opportunity to stretch your limbs and lungs, is a moment where the band simply indulge in fun. The record’s main motif, though, is exploration, at the expense of professionalism, if necessary; that’s best represented on “Here Again”, where Factory Floor constantly switch the bells and whistles complementing a lead synth loop, panning it into new dimensions. Void’s ethereal vocal distortions and free-roaming riffs act as the icing to the cake prepared by Gurnsey and Butler, and the three perfect their formula of having no formula at all – the three interludes all differ, with a vocal Doppler effect on one, field-recording-like guitar on another while “Three” is more cosmic sci-fi.

The victory of Factory Floor is in debt to the time and care that has gone into the record, which has surfaced as something tangible on the tracks. The group have been willing to go the distance in exploring their own selves and their sound, fuelled by creativity and hindered by little. Sure enough, the most vital process was stripping back the excess layers from their jams, and this is something that can’t be rushed; “How You Say” jumps to mind as it unwinds into territories unfamiliar to the tune’s inception. Zeniths are reached at natural rates as the band refuse to constrain themselves. In a world of contract-filling obligations and exponentially-mounting expectations, Factory Floor is a faith-imbuing reminder that having the freedom to spread wings and not forcing a track out of nothing can result in the most fruitful of yields.

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