Album: Factory Floor
Record Label: DFA
Factory Floor are securing their place in the lineage of great Dance music
Since even before its release, London Industrial Dance trio Factory Floor's long- awaited, highly anticipated debut caused contention in certain sects of the blogosphere. About a week before its release on Monday, the Guardian posted an exclusive stream of the album. The result was about 35 comments, most of which comprised of people throwing words like "boring" and "lazy" around. It's Factory Floor's first release proper since their "Untitled" EP in 2010, and in between were a number of re- workings of their own tracks and obscure split 12". And here's the thing; Factory Floor's music is danceability stripped down to its absolute bare bones. Many of the tracks on this self- titled full- length revolve around a repeated electronic loop that lasts for the entire track, changing ever-so slightly every now and again and relying on ambidextrous percussive excursions and blistering grooves. But the thing is, in a safe sextet of hands like that of this band, it's absolutely engulfing.
The songs on "Factory Floor", despite the cynicism, are meticulously crafted and expertly pieced together demonstrations of minimally layered rhythm. Everything on this album, from Gabe Guernsey's ambidextrous drumming to Dominic Butler's revolving synth arpeggios and Nik Void's heavily effected vocals works to the affect of making you want to boogie like tomorrow is the end of the world.
The opener "Turn it Up" is a robotic, tuneless maneuver that asks "What is a good way to start?" before answering it's own question. A monotonous '80s Italo- House piano sample presents itself before a monstrous tribal groove intervenes and just grows and becomes more enveloping as it continues. "Here Again" is 8 minutes of impenetrable, bleep favouring funk, entailing the excellently intertwining aforementioned arpeggios and a myriad of percussive techniques that all conjoin to create an ever more irresistible epic.
"Fall Back" is a robust, tangy and punishing cut that infectious harks back to their "Untitled EP"- era instead of the lighter soundscapes indulged in most of the time on this record. Void's vocals up until now have largely been used as a tool, but here they strike a strangely sensual nerve as she intones sensually "Did you think you were going to fall higher... Higher... Higher...". It recalls the perverse weirdness of Throbbing Gristle's "Hot on the Heels of Love", a song which incidentally Void mentioned as one of "the sexiest tracks she owns" in a recent interview with The Quietus.
"Two" emphasises perfectly how Void's guitar playing couldn't be less conventional. Dissonant and tuneless, it sees her conjure up alienating, gritty effects and cavernous, echoing shudders, all in the name of extraordinary, organic improvisation. "Work Out" is the most diverse track in terms of melody. Butler's deep, squelchy synths worm patterns and grooves between rushes of grinding and spacious electro noise and kaleidoscopic percussive movements.
You just cannot argue with these grooves. They're mechanical in the sexiest sense, and un-fuckwithable in the most danceable sense. Forget "lazy"; Factory Floor are securing themselves a place in the lineage of great Dance Music.
Key tracks: Here Again, Fall Back, Work Out
For fans of: A Certain Ratio, Throbbing Gristle