Release Date: Sep 10, 2013
Record label: DFA
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Club/Dance
At the end of a brilliant and enlightening interview with The Quietus, Factory Floor’s drummer/drum programmer Gabe Gurnsey plainly laid out the bands motto: “Repetition is the platform for free thinking. ” This phrase plays out like a mantra, given the way that the syllables crisscross and collide, sliding into the next phrase. Known for their micromanaged and micromanaging tracks, it’s fascinating to see that even their words about themselves are efficient, each phrase and constituent particular effervescent in their appearance and disappearance, yet wholeheartedly lunging themselves into place, forming a whole crystalline and formative structure.
If you've been keeping tabs on London's Factory Floor, the wait for their debut album has been insufferable. They've certainly been productive in the last four years, releasing steady twelve-inches and EPs, but a full-length is what everyone wanted. Before signing to DFA in 2011, the trio collaborated with Throbbing Gristle's Chris and Cosey, were remixed by fans such as Optimo and Stephen Morris, and acquired Eurythmics' mixing desk.
The overriding feature of Factory Floor‘s debut album is restraint. It’s an album which is determined to prove that anticipation can be the best part of any experience. So songs build. And build. And build. Onwards. Upwards. Towards. Heading, you presume, to a climax. Which strangely, often ….
Factory FloorFactory Floor[DFA; 2013]By Rob Hakimian; September 13, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGFactory Floor’s debut album has been a long time in the making. The band stretches back as far as 2005, although with a rather different lineup. The current incarnation released the well-received mini-LP Talking On Cliffs in 2009 and since then has sporadically released singles.
It seems remarkable that London three-piece Factory Floor are only now releasing their debut album. The band has been around since 2005, with the line-up cohering in 2010 when original member Mark Harris left, with replacement Nik Colk then joining Gabriel Gurnsey and Dominic Butler. This is a band whose presence has long been felt, whose releases and live sets linger, trailing behind them a sense of unease.
Originally signed to London’s blastfirstpetite label, Factory Floor’s earliest transmissions included a 10” plus DVD box set and most telling, a 12” featuring remixes from the likes of Throbbing Gristle’s Christ Carter and Joy Division/New Order’s Stephen Morris. Soon after, Factory Floor collaborated with Chris & Cosey, the Pop Group’s Mark Stewart, and former New York downtown disco composer Peter Gordon, showing that the new band was well aware of its sonic forebears. Their sinewy self-titled debut for DFA now orients Factory Floor along an axis of artists that embrace industrial, post-punk, disco, acid, avant-garde minimalism, electro, dub and-- most crucially-- the dancefloor, without being beholden to any one genre.
In the current musical climate it takes some guts for a young band to step back and hone their sound, rather than release a potentially undercooked album as soon as possible. We first heard from Factory Floor on 2008’s Bipolar single; it’s taken until now for them to release their first full-length. During that time consistent touring has seen the group build a fearsome live reputation, and the band have worked with spiritual godfathers Stephen Morris of Joy Division and Chris Carter of Throbbing Gristle.
Though they first arrived in 2008, it was really in 2011 that the London trio Factory Floor—Dom Butler, Gabe Gurnsey, and lead Nik Void—finally began to make waves with their muscular modular workouts, first with ~(Real Love) on Optimo Music and then with the dead-eyed post punk grind of Two Different Ways on DFA. Just as importantly, over the last few years the band has steadily developed one of electronic music's most lionized live acts. Add to that Nik Void's collaboration with Chris Carter and Cosey Fanny Tutti of Throbbing Gristle and a remarkable EP of Balearic minimalism earlier this year with Peter Gordon, and it's clear why Factory Floor's debut arrives as one of 2013's most-anticipated full-lengths.
The debut for a band is usually to capture the band's rawness and find their early creativity as an introduction to a listener. But Factory Floor's debut is as captivating as many veteran albums, with more than enough variety and sheer artistic scope - these songs are fully realized and fleshed out to a staggering surprise. You'll get lost, return to Earth, and then literally drop your jaw at the realization that this is the first full-length album this band has created.
“Where is a good place to start?” demands the sinister droid on ‘Turn It Up’, the opening track of Factory Floor’s self-titled debut. And for this bunch of slackers, it’s a good question. Three years have passed since the trio’s last meaningful recorded output, 2010’s four-track ‘Untitled’ EP. That’s a lot of finger drumming and patient waiting while the band have endlessly fiddled and tweaked their work.
During the three years between their critically acclaimed Untitled EP and their self-titled debut album, Factory Floor did a lot of changing and growing. The band drew plenty of comparisons to post-punk and industrial greats in their early years, and collaborations with luminaries such as Chris Carter, Stephen Morris, and Peter Gordon didn't do much to dissuade them. A shift away from the grimy, pulsating sound the band forged on "A Wooden Box" and "Lying" was inevitable, but the leap they make on Factory Floor is as startling as it is exciting.
The value of sheer sensory violence should never be underestimated. And early Factory Floor shows were said to have induced blackouts and vomiting (all included in the ticket price) amongst the assembled London faithful. Their eponymous debut full-length, disappointingly, does not come complete with the sadistic frequencies and tormenting strobe effects.
Factory Floor are at their taut best experienced live; when Butler's synth rhythms layer up around you, Void's abstract guitar and vocals emerge out of then back into the mix and Gurnsey's intense drumming takes centre stage. Their songs seem to last forever, indebted to repetition; yet finish too soon - the monotony becoming a primal pulse to lose yourself in. This self-titled debut doesn't quite capture that experience.
If nothing else, Factory Floor has lived up to its name and whatever associations that stem from it. Hyped to the hilt, the so-called post-industrial trio has set its own lofty goals, its very moniker all but asking to be included in a tradition that would connect Factory Floor to Joy Division, New Order, and the Hacienda scene. To add to the mystique of a band only now releasing its first full-length after a string of well-received and appetite-whetting singles and EPs, Factory Floor signed on with DFA Records, a more contemporary point of reference for its angular, punk-minded electro aesthetic.
It’s something of an inevitability that in scanning the reviews of a debut of pretty much any up and coming act there’ll be a fair few complaints about record label pressure resulting in a rushed release; and quite often, those complaints will be entirely accurate - the amount of bands (particularly British ones) that shot themselves in the foot, or even outright imploded, due to an ill-advised attempt to capitalise on early hype seems to get longer by the day. Which makes Factory Floor's self-titled album an interesting novelty, as it's arguably a case of an act taking too long on their first record. The trio – drummer Gabe Gurnsey, synth manipulator Dominic Butler, and guitarist/vocalist Nik Colk Void - have existed in some form for the best part of a decade, dropping some ravenously received EPs over the past five years, but only now getting around to releasing their debut, despite a pre-release campaign that started almost two years ago with the Two Different Ways single.
London dance trio Factory Floor's debut mixes techno, house, disco and more industrial fare to often mesmeric effect. Opener Turn It Up wrongfoots you from the start with its off-kilter tom before the kick drum begins, a slightly queasy monotone synth motif backing Nik Colk Void's pitch-shifted vocal line. Here Again starts with a filtered riff that circles around, coming in and out of focus for a full minute before the beats kick in, while the drums on Fall Back recall New Order (Steven Morris is a fan and sometime collaborator).
There’s a paradox central to Factory Floor, the debut by the London trio of the same name: It pools decades-old electronic subgenres (Throbbing Gristle industrial, 808 State acid, etc.) and molds them into bricklike patterns with relatively few moving parts. It’s expansion through contraction. In a way, Factory Floor’s aesthetic defends them from the scrutiny that comes with signing to DFA Records – James Murphy’s label being one of our more consistent indies – because this music is as taut and lean as to be just about airtight.
Factory Floor FACTORY FLOOR. “Factory Floor” (DFA), the self-titled debut album by an English electronic trio, is a present-day blast from an austere past. At the end of the 1970s, the combination of art-punk aesthetics, primitive electronic instruments, do-it-yourself budgets and a British ….
Far from the mighty second coming many had anticipated, the debut from London’s Factory Floor is merely very good: an accomplished, abnormally enigmatic and uncommonly atmospheric dance album. And if it’s any consolation for those disappointed believers, in the transition from guitar band to electronica act the trio have succeeded in carrying over the patented Factory Floor style; a style singular in any context. As such, just as they’re a unique post-punk act, so too are they a unique dance act – and they remain a special prospect.
When announcing their debut, Nik Colk Void, guitarist, vocalist and one third of Factory Floor, said that the reason it took so long to put together was that the group ‘decided to keep developing live in tandem with recording … we consciously wanted to make a record that offered an alternative side to our live shows.’Listening to the album that makes so much sense. What could have been a fatal error has turned out to be a stroke of inspiration. Because what makes ‘Factory Floor’ so special is that it takes the shudderingly visceral volume of their live shows and channels it in a supremely focused way.
opinion byBRENDAN FRANK It’s been a long time coming. If you need a sense of just how long, Factory are now signed to James Murphy’s DFA label. They formed the same year LCD Soundsystem released their debut record. Fragments of the UK trio’s first album have been floating around for the better part of two years, and they’ve have finally coalesced into a final product eight years in the making.
Over the several years they've existed, Factory Floor have come to embody a certain attitude of resistance. Resistance to audiences and labels that would have happily gobbled up several full-lengths in the time it's taken them to release Factory Floor. Resistance to their peers; the trio have spoken in interviews of how moving operations to a warehouse in a knackered industrial estate in Seven Sisters offered an escape route from involvement in any sort of scene.