Factory Floor – 25 25 Review 

With every new release, Factory Floor seem to shed their skin and provide listeners with a new spin on dance-rooted tracks. From pure acid anthems to sizzling industrial club classics, the newly-turned duo has hopped, skipped and jumped around energetic electronica. With second album 25 25, Factory Floor have taken it back to basics, with authentic loops and diehard precision, but, seemingly in an effort to push their diversity, have gone too far.

Factory Floor’s ‘bare minimum’ approach is ostensibly a slap in the face for the over-compensating layers of tech used in modern dance pop. The majority of tracks are given life through looped basslines and hooks, buoyed by the addition of either gloopy robotic or off-pitch vocals by Colk, plus unharmed hi-hats throughout. Whether it’s simply toe-tapping or a dancefloor invitation, the beat is relentless. There is barely time to come up for air before one unyielding bassline swims into the next. Though this makes it a fantastic album for a spinning class instructor, the tracklist isn’t one for a simplistic, everyday listen. The necessities the twosome thought of clearly didn’t include verses or choruses, as there is the odd intersperse of spat lyrics here and there, but nothing of substance. Also, while the album is a snappy eight tracks long, the songs are extremely lengthy; both Meet Me At The End and Wave comfortably surpass the eight-minute mark, with Slow Listen and Ya hot on their tails. This, alongside the monotonous basslines that drive each track, does make the album somewhat dreary. Even Colk’s insistent vocal loop seems tired towards the conclusion of Slow Listen.

Though the album is centred around modern dance hits, there are clear influences from days of clubbing past. The deep mechanical vocals, most prolific in Ya, scream Kraftwerk, whilst the thumping hook of Wave snapshots the nineties. Yet, a lot of this tracklist is individual to them. Relay keeps to the looped hooks, basslines and percussion checklist, with bursts of “oh’s” uncomfortably clashing, as if to mock their own genre, similar to Slow Listen’s off-beat vocals. What’s most interesting about this album is its little quirks. There are noteworthy differences every now and again: eponymous track 25 25 is driven mostly by the bassline with the hi-hats this time being an add-on feature. Additionally, Dial Me In has impressive robotic harmonising and a more acidic hook reflective of earlier numbers. However, even with such sound meticulousness, and a captivating diversity, it just seems to drag. A lot.

25 25 is an ideal party playlist addition, and I’m sure many DJs would be keen to include Factory Floor’s persistent punchy tracks in their sets. Saying that, this one can only be taken in small doses, before it gets too wearisome, and one song melts into the next.

Factory Floor: 25 25 – 5/10

By Eleanor Chivers

This Weeks Music Video with MIA, Metronomy, Death Grips, Ty Segall, Factory Floor and Mudcrutch

Single Review – Factory Floor – Dial Me In

London’s dance trio have became a duo since their last album with the departure of Dominic Butler from the group, so the remaining duo have continued with a more leaner and basic sound for their second album 25 – 25 which is out on August 19th. The first single from it is ‘Dial Me In’ which showcases the pared down pulse which is likely to be a feature of most of the albums eight tracks.  On top of this pulsating sound are the heavily modulated vocals and washed out sounds the fire across the base beat. From this track alone it does not seem as imaginative as their 2013 debut and even a little too simplistic, but there’s more to come yet.

 

Owen Riddle

Forget What The NME Says. This Is The True Face of Musical Progression.

I won’t get bogged down in the details, but I recently wrote an article about how musical progression, on the face of it is in grave decline compared to the second half of the twentieth century and it seems many are living in some ignorant bliss about it all. In what was largely a rant against the ‘Indie Hipster’ I did paint a pretty bleak picture about the majority of those who weren’t pushing music forward so I thought I’d redress that and show you who is.

 

Factory Floor and The Knife

Dark and gritty synthetic churnings and grindings of an industrial nature. A collage and a deep texture of different electronic sounds burrowing beneath the song or fire out from it in a laser like fashion. There isn’t really a traditional base or middling sound and if there is it isn’t playing centre stage. Songs that are pretty lengthy and play on sensory and emotive vulnerabilities. These are enhanced by the very different ways the vocals are packaged. Only inserted at intervals to enhance the sound or scare you half to death.

 

Bombay Bicycle Club

Though perhaps not making such a huge difference to the progression of music before; they certainly are now. They could almost act as the in-between or the transition from the ‘Hipster’ culture to the progressive and forward thinking culture and the highly futuristic nature of Factory Floor and The Knife. They are slightly less shocking and assertive in their approach and they act in a much more accessible and melodic fashion particularly with ‘Carry Me’ with a sustained vocal but still with a great focus on the music and an untraditional approach to verses.

 

Pinkunoizu

A great combination and clashing of different sounds to forge a new type of music but one that still has a large air of familiarity to it. Combining the punk and krautrock elements with the neo-psychedelic, shoegazing and even folk elements but in a much matter of fact way rather than making a mockery of the respected genres in the process. It results in direct and easy to grasp song progression but one that is much more complex and varied.

 

Warpaint

A fantastic proprietor of the atmospheric and of the expanded sound. They don’t plug a cheap atmosphere using the same default echo and distortion that most bands who think they are of the same banner. They in fact utilise the natural sound of their vocal as well as the differing effects that they have at their disposal. The also do this with the natural rotating rhythms and in using sounds to build up textures that are fluid and drawn out. Sometimes the atmospheric quality comes from the vocal, the guitars, the bass, percussion, synths etc. This can allow them to control the type of atmospheric quality of each song. Sometimes it can change mid-song, but they have the ability to produce completely spaced out and unlimited sounds and much more bottled up and immediate atmospheric moments.

 

The Horrors

Psychedelic music of the future. They have already went through a rapid personal musical progression and it would be a crime to leave them out of this list. The free flowing synths and the layering atop of it can be complex or simple but divulges the sound perfectly in a way original psychedelica has not. Combine that with the wizardry of guitarist Joshua Hayward. To a passing ear it just sounds like an aggressive shoegaze style, but it does so much more. Instead of acting as a side show of the rest of the song he uses it as the songs engine to grind out a tune from the reverb and to act as an added melodic element. You just have to look at the abundance of pedals he has to see where he is taking guitar music as a whole to an age of the intelligent and disciplined guitarist. The bass is always less obvious in it’s bass lines and Faris’ vocals speak for themselves for a fresh vocal style.

 

Rose Elinor Dougall

Not only was her debut album Without Why a great rejigging of outlooks on genres with brilliant combinations and fresh approaches on each; but her 2013 EP Future Vanishes is a great example of a new type of pop music. One that is more intelligent and does so much more than provide the quick fix people look for. Lyrically capable as always; she moulds songs that are infectious in their beat, rhythm, groove and melodic feel. You can sing a long and you can dance along to them. There is also a great spaced out quality to her music from which you can be totally immersed and lost in. Something that is rooted deeper by her lyrics. That doesn’t detract from those infectious qualities and if anything she cleverly utilises and manipulates this to enhance such things.

 

Damon Albarn

Already a legendary innovator in several guises; he has recently shown he can still do just that as we all set about embarking on his solo venture. Songs like ‘Everyday Robots’ are broken and off beat with their melodies and the mismatch of percussion going on at the same time. He combines the traditional strings and piano with the samples and lets them sit separately and unifying them with his easy listening vocal to smooth everything over. He has much more to give and much more to show younger generations currently driving music backwards.

That was just a few off the top of my head but there are such artists out there. You just have to find them and go to their gigs and so on for they are the true driving forces of music. Even if they are behind the scenes they are the forward thinkers and the progressives like generations before them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Albums of 2013

Now that I have listed my top ten tracks and now that it is 2014, I’ve decided to roll off my top ten albums from last year. Again, if your favourite artists art present they either didn’t make the cut or weren’t reviewed by me last year; for this is a list compiled from albums that have appeared on the blog in 2013. However, the listing is this time based on the rating I gave each album and not on my current opinion. Anyway…

 

10. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City

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The band had certainly tried a few different methods with the pitch shifting which was also used on the drums and the guitar was recorded straight onto the recording programme while various different recording techniques were used to ‘soften’ the album and make it listenable. They have certainly done that and while being very careful with the production. It also has a slight edge to it as well and therefore results in their best album yet. They have grown older and their music has grown with it to create a very unique at times and mature sound.

 

9. Manic Street Preachers – Rewind The Film

Rewind The Film is not too generic and its by no means so experimental and conceptualized that it isn’t relatable or translatable. The lyrics are and music share equal footing and in general it just shows that the Manics are still capable of being truly creative. probably their most complete album since Everything Must Go and This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours in terms of the lyrical challenges posed and the moods and emotions created via their light and airy production.

 

8. Factory Floor – Factory Floor

It’s not too far away from what The Knife did earlier on in 2013, but perhaps it has a more subtle edge to it. For now, it’s main strengths will be it’s ability to fill dance floors as well as sound dark, scathing and haunting. All in all it’s a great effort and was probably worth the long wait we had to endure for a full studio album.

 

7. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

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Even though tracks like ‘Get Lucky’ have been played to death in 2013; it’s a proper song in how it’s been crafted by musicians, written by musicians, produced by musicians and played by musicians and talented ones at that, with bags of experience. The fact this sort of music is topping the charts whether it’s your thing or not should be celebrated. Thomas Bangalter pointed towards the likes of Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd and Sgt Pepper from The Beatles as “the ones that take you on a journey for miles and miles.” They all served as some of the several models for creating an album that provides that journey which they have managed to achieve in the sense that you can become engrossed and lost within it. Perhaps it is their best work in how they are more have proved successful with this different approach.

 

6. The Knife – Shaking The Habitual

All in all this album is just beyond me. Even if you don’t quite get some of the songs at first you should listen again and try to deconstruct the wall of different and varying sounds. Some of which fill the song but others leave the songs with lots of space to generate a real atmosphere while at times terrifying me. With this they have challenged the norm’s of modern music to the points where a lot of people won’t appreciate it because they don’t understand it. I think had I reviewed this a month ago, then it would have a much higher rating.

 

5. Connan Mockasin – Caramel

 Though the sound and tone of Caramel isn’t moved and shifted around so much; it would be wrong for that to happen as it would break down the larger flow and feel of the album. It is nearly impossible and it almost feels wrong to plant a mark on it. A surreal and coolly insane and outrageous event from someone being himself, taking risks and being bold.

 

4. Arctic Monkeys – AM

AM falls down on very few occasions and when it does, it’s only to re-envisage some great Desert Rock, Swooning Ballads etc. The rest of it has been new takes on worn out sounds, showing that you can be innovative in what you don’t bring to a song and with at times fluctuating styles within songs. Josh Homme’s presence has for once not been an overbearing one but something that has furthered their vision and aim. It showed everyone what still can be done with guitar music in 2013. I know it can be easy, but don’t let all the crazed fangirls and boys put you off it because it’s an album that maintains a very high standard throughout. I perhaps think that there are some better albums with a lower ranking in this list, but nevertheless it deserves it’s place in the top ten.

 

3. Savages – Silence Yourself

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The musical discipline and obvious talent of all the members is clear to see and they don’t seem to have any hidden agenda or motivation either. They lay everything out in their music alone. Not even in their image. This for me is refreshing and they have left themselves with the difficult task of the second album. But that dreaded phase I doubt will effect them at all. They seem so cool and at ease with their music; behind the urgency and rapid nature of it all and Silence Yourself is the result. Just be sure to take in the depth and meaning of the album too, so don’t judge it on first impressions.

 

2. Pinknoizu – The Drop

All in all this album is highly varied and you should never get bored listening to it. That’s what makes a great album like Sgt Pepper for example. Not only that but the composition and production is also reflective of that variedness that exists across the album. A varied tone that is driven by the mutations and combinations of sounds the Danish group have been able to put together in order to forge new and interesting soundscapes. On top of that; it gets easily manipulated and heightened by the production and recording prowess the group attained. It’s a real treat.

 

1. Jagwar Ma – Howlin

They have justified all the fuss about them for sure to create a very ‘trippy’ album but an album that is almost perfect on a technical level. Jono Ma’s understanding and meticulous attention to detail on getting the right amount of each element in their songs is a great skill to have. The album does go beyond the combination of their past influences to create an album that sounds familiar yet also new and exciting. All this and it’s only their debut album of which many others have very safe and rather dull debuts with perhaps too much focus on the singles. This is not the case with Howlin. Beyond that they have the basic aspects of variation and at times rhythmic affairs intercepted by more sparse musical artistry.

 

 

Factory Floor – Factory Floor Review

Factory Floor are a techno, post-industrial, electronic or whatever you want to call them group from London consisting of Gabriel Gurnsey, Dominic Butler and Nik Colk. They’ve been around for a good few years now and have accumulated quite a following and have had praise lapped upon them but amazingly this is their debut album. This sounds odd when you consider their first single was released in 2008. EP’s and mini – albums followed it but they’ve never collated their work into a proper album until now. This had probably made the pressure even greater on them delivering but they’ll have the fan-base to take it on so such a gap between single and album has it’s pro’s and con’s.

‘Fall Back’ opens with that simple dance beat but it’s muted and slightly distant to allow for extra percussion and other samples and synth chords to easily incorporate themselves above what is effectively the rhythm section. The physical percussion takes on a more frequent role to add to the depth of the song while droned out vocals talk over the music in a robotic fashion. All elements are pretty isolated from each other and blend together rather than blend into each other and each part is still distinguishable throughout the song. It’s still a dance track but it has a certain dark undercurrent to it and a greater depth and texture to also make it a song you could sit down and listen to as well. ‘Two Different Ways’ was a single released over a year ago and starts off with a beat and a tune that’s almost a retro envisaged future. It carries off a better and more catchy tune with it’s repetitive pattern of a sample that slowly develops throughout the plus nine minute song. The vocals from Nik are more echoed and faded out this time and are a little more haunting than sinister as they were in the previous song. The physical percussion elements again work well against the electronic parts as they are recorded in a more immediate fashion and sit above the electronic parts when they come in to the song. It gives the song another layer and more depth. It shares the same qualities as ‘Fall Back’ but is perhaps the better song for it’s better variation.

‘Here Again’ opens with an 80’s like sample that almost sounds like it’s underwater before turning into a more solid sound as extra elements of percussion join in and remains more sustained and consistent to give the song an even greater sense of rhythm which grows when more samples and chords from the synth are thrown in there. The vocals are still faded and sort of make up another texture of the song as the other elements overtake it while it slowly fades out. With this they are more tuneful rather than haunting in this case. Again the percussion works well against the echoed and droned out samples and vocals of ‘Breathe In’ and other tracks. It’s not too far away from what The Knife did earlier this year but perhaps it has a subtle edge for now because of it’s ability to fill dance floors as well as sound dark, scathing and haunting. All in all it’s a great effort and was probably worth the wait.

Factory Floor – Factory Floor = 8.5/10

Images from www.xlr8r.com / pitchfork.com