Artist → Factory Floor
Factory Floor will be releasing their highly anticipated debut album Factory Floor via DFA on 9 September 2013. It is a vivid snapshot of a progressive band, still in the ascendant, smashing through yet another ceiling.
It’s the first album-length statement from the band, who earned a powerful live and recorded reputation on the strength of the ‘Fall Back’ and ‘Two Different Ways’ for DFA — not to mention their early releases for Optimo Music and Blast First Petite.
Produced and recorded by the band themselves in their North London warehouse space on a vintage mixing desk originally used by Dave Stewart three decades ago to record all of the Eurythmics’ early hits, Factory Floor is a fully immersive trip through the bands repertoire. It opens with ‘Turn It Up’ their most minimal track to date. They are reduced to the core trio of elements: mass, velocity and momentum – mixed in astonishing detail by Timothy ‘Q’ Wiles, an LA based producer who has previously worked with VCMG and Afrika Bambaataa. It also features a pitched down voice demanding to know: “Where is a good place to start?” The listener should start with the immense volume that the title demands. Good speakers and even better headphones reveal a hidden world of deep listening behind the minimal frame of agitated percussion, dub echo and bass rumble, beneath the framework of the track.
‘Here Again’ is almost (but not quite) their pop song. Gabe calls it their “Ibiza track” and Nik claims she was channelling Michael Jackson when she wrote it. It’s hard to tell who has tongue planted firmer in cheek. What is does contain is cascading arpeggios, counterbalanced with synth melody lines, plaintive vocals almost demanding to pour from Fabric’s sound system.
Factory Floor also contains the definitive version of ‘Two Different Ways’, followed by the muscular and sleek ‘Fall Back’. ‘How You Say’ is the sound of New York’s dance underground rebooted for a near future inner city digital versus analogue battle; ‘Work Out’ is anything but, despite the desultory title, it is in fact sinister street sound electro; and album closer ‘Breathe In’ is funkified acid disco.
Factory Floor in its current, fully formed incarnation got together in late 2009 when guitarist/vocalist Nik Colk Void joined the dark-hearted, 21st Century rhythm section of drummer Gabe Gurnsey and synth player Dominic Butler.
Within months their astonishing gigs had earned them a rabidly devoted audience. Some of them were as much spiritual guides who heralded a new and singular talent arriving as they were fans. The trio figured that putting a demo in the post marked simply, “Stephen Morris: Macclesfield”, would be a good way to contact the Joy Division/New Order drummer. That it arrived at his house was surprising; his enthusiastic response to what he heard, less so.
“I listened to the tracks ‘Lying’ and ‘Wooden Box’ and thought they were brilliant… In the tracks I could hear something which reminded me of the spirit of New Order in the early days... They were raw, chaotic, fantastic and different - everything I've ever liked in a band.” Not long afterwards they worked with Chris Carter from Throbbing Gristle and he was so impressed with them that he ended up joining their ranks for a number of international festival shows in 2011.
In the two years after the trio formed they released a number of EPs and 12”s on labels such as Blast First Petite and Optimo while all the time their live sound was shifting away from an all-out noise assault into a much more spacious and confident exploration of techno, minimal, acid and post-industrial rhythms and textures.
Perhaps the most unlikely aspect of the band’s rise to notoriety has been their versatility. They produce a sound, that even their most ardent of fans describe as punishing, yet they seem equally at home playing raves, alternative festivals, art galleries, cinemas, nightclubs and rock shows; on top of that they’re as much at home collaborating with members of Throbbing Gristle and New Order (not to mention Richard H Kirk of Cabaret Voltaire, Simon Fisher Turner and Peter Gordon) as they are with contemporary artists such as Haroon Mirza and Hannah Sawtell.
Label boss Jonathan Galkin explained his love for the trio after seeing them play live in NYC’s Mercury Lounge and Knitting Factory: “It had a presence to it that was the same feeling I had when i saw say MBV in 1991 or Black Dice in 2001. It was just... exhilaratingly full and loud and relentlessly rhythmic... sonically it came at you and attacked you.”