Factory Floor

Factory Floor


It’s midnight in the salubrious surroundings of The White Hotel (actually an industrial unit in North Manchester, with a trapdoor bar in the floor which is all kinds of amazing), and the packed room is watching people make their final tinkerings with the equipment on stage (actually there is no stage, it’s just on the floor in front of us) in preparation for Factory Floor to start their sonic assault on us, everyone shuffling away to the Now Wave DJs who serve us impeccable warm up tunes from their lofty position above us to the left of the stage.

The set up is actually pretty minimal, all synths and electronic equipment stacked on each other, and a drum kit towards to back. Dry ice is pumped from above, creating a blur that makes it hard to see anything, and some incredibly simple but incredibly effective strings of lights hang down in front, interacting with the dry ice to create hazes of vivid colour from pink to red to purple throughout the hour long set.

The music. Sweet Jesus the music. The White Hotel is the perfect place for Factory Floor to do their minimal techno thing; it’s stark, run down, a bit desolate, cold, but at the same time it’s kind of thrilling and a venue you want to be a regular visitor to; this perfectly matches what Factory Floor do. They do not let up for an hour, the stripped back minimalism of recent album 25 25 beefed up to muscular levels by the addition of the live drumming, combining with the pummelling, pulsating synths and drum machines to create an all encapsulating wall of noise that grabs hold of your body, forcing it to move along to the sound waves as the night progresses. The shimmering colour-scapes created by the lights and dry ice add to the feeling of otherworldliness, that we’ve all been transported to somewhere far outside of Manchester to be memsmerised by dance music at it’s most brutal and hypnotising.

It’s hard to distinguish where one track ends and another begins, such is the brilliant craft of Gabriel Gurnsey and Nik Void, weaving their post industrial techno sounds together to create what essentially feels like one long piece with ever shifting textures. ‘Ya’ stands out because of Gurnsey’s repeated yelps of ‘Yeah!’ throughout, cold and distant, coming somewhere from the cloud of colours, it’s like someone trying to speak to you from the other side, but they’re only able to say one word and it happens to be ‘yeah’. ‘Slow Listen’ is anything but, except for it’s run time, and it pulls and rolls my body almost at will with its incessant beat, rupturing synths and chopped up excerpts of Gurnsey’s vocals, it’s incredible. People occasionally throw their hands in the air in appreciation of a beat (there aren’t any ‘drops’ here), but apart from that the whole crowd is just a sway of bodies moving along as if all pulled by the same strings, finding it impossible to resist the thrill of the drums.

It’s an exceptional, lean, sinewy performance that is at once brutally powerful yet somehow light and thrilling. I can’t wait to see where they take their sound next; wherever it is (hopefully at the White Hotel), I’ll be there, enthralled and enraptured by their hypnotising power.

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