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. They’ve resisted the temptation to go for volume, for loudness. Make no mistake this is an album that is about power, kinetic energy and forward thrust – but it’s equally minimal and spacious; a journey that builds and builds, that takes you with it on a path to their own dark universe.
It’s been two years since the band started work on the album in their North London warehouse space. They’ve spoken about creative accidents and how playing live shows helped push them forward. Yet this is an album where every minute detail helps to create the Factory Floor sound. Every drum beat and every juddering blast seems to have been achingly deliberated over. And Timothy ‘Q’ Wiles’ production is inspired; giving muscle and power to the songs, picking out the agitated percussion, dub echo and bass rumble.
It can be heard from even the first listen. Over an unrelenting and austere electronic canvas, pitchshifted vocals, a modified Roland SH101 whirs and arpeggios echo forever. It’s repetition but the trick is it never feels like it is; there’s a constantly blurred and shifting feel, a sound that envelops the listener in its metronomic web.
Opener ‘Turn It Up’s disembodied vocals ask “Where is a good place to start?” and from then on it’s all their world; a dark, alluring urban cityscape. This is alien electro, melding clattering house and sub zero post-punk. ‘Fall Back’ and ‘Two Different Ways’ are the sound of throbbing, kinetic house and a skittering and jolting beat. ‘How You Say’ throbs and jolts with electro fuzziness as a dance beat pulsates underneath while ‘Work Out’ squelches as close as they come to sounding like their DFA labelmates – in their own mind-altering, idiosyncratic way.
‘Here Again’ is outright the most immediate thing on here, with its alluring synth melody lines and wistful vocals making it sound, in its own twisted way, like a blurry sunrise in Ibiza.
This is an album then of irresistible forward momentum; brutal and gentle, alien and human. An album to strap yourself in for and give in to its hypnotising strangeness.
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