Written for Epigram during my first year at uni.
Preview: Factory Floor @ Bristol Aquarium (2017)
Following their latest LP release, 25 25, London duo Factory Floor return into the electronic limelight with a wave of new shows, gracing Bristol Aquarium’s former IMAX this Friday with their infectiously bouncy presence for a seated evening of post-industrial groove and transformative geometric visuals.
Since forming in 2005, the pair has stamped the electronic scene with vigour; combining heavy undertone beats of Berlin techno, funk-infused synth, and distinctive hi-hat patterns to compile their warped psychedelic discos. To accompany their stylish take on the genre, it is anticipated Factory Floor will take full advantage of Friday’s unique visual facilities, bringing the minimalist neon shapes of their album artworks into full, complimentary rhythmic life – a distinctly unique experience for fans of the duo.
Perfecting the lineup for Friday’s unorthodox performance are Not Waving and Konx-Om-Pax; two upcoming experimental artists also in the electronic scene.
Review: Factory Floor @ Bristol Aquarium (2017)
Friday’s visual-audio groove took place centered around Bristol Aquarium’s former IMAX screen; the curved seating area cramped, on looking Factory Floor’s set up – a curiously unorthodox setting for an electronic set. The evening was tastefully taken to its beginning by Scottish electronic artist Konx-Om-Pax.
Utilising his first slot to showcase a distinctly more ambient sound, Schofield’s preliminary performance was a transcendent crescendo of atmospheric power. Combining a contrast of compelling elongated synth – the melancholy backwater of his set – and hazy waves of faded, high-pitched melodies, Schofield created an auditory canvas for nature-inspired visuals; dust falling over light and the muted strokes of neon shades covering the screen. Towards the end of the set, the extended undertones were overturned by the use of individual drum beats; the cascades of calming visuals taking a darker turn into vessel-induced flashes and webs of rotating monochrome spheres – posing a fitting, gloomier picture in preparation Konx-Om-Pax’s successor – Not Waving.
Not Waving executed a significantly juxtaposing performance from the previously subtle despondence, opting for an explicitly dingy, yet wholly obliging, industrial vibe. With an instantaneous pounding bass, Not Waving’s ominous entrance was forced almost discomfortingly upon the audience. The visuals and sound alike were creepily compelling; necessitating a mental battle between disgust and hypnotic intrigue within the viewer. Natalizia’s audio disturbance was a smothering compound of screeching feedback from panning mechanical noise and grungy, funk-induced synth which physically rumbled the entirety of the room’s floor; bouncy electronic drum beats clamoring against intergalactic bombs of distortion and fragmented voice clips. To accompany Not Waving’s abstrusely energetic sound was incongruous, jolting videos of painful encounters: the forcible piercing of restless toddlers’ earlobes, the tactile molestation of adult faces and the slowed suffocation of individuals behind plastic sheets covered in sweaty condensation. The art induced a sort of visual soreness yet enduring irresistibility of his set throughout, not only felt by myself. Gradually, the audience began to seep down toward Not Waving’s decks, joining him in his shrilled and grimy audio amalgamations. With this, the atmosphere was set for Factory Floor’s arrival.
Factory Floor’s set up was simple; illuminated by a single, warm light on the edge of the decks, the pair were staged across from one another in touching distance of the energized audience members who had ventured to the front previously – an intimate feel carried throughout the set. Focusing mainly on their latest release, 25 25, both in visuals and sound, the London duo gifted the theatre with a hypnotic hour of their stiff electronic groove. Within moments of playing their signature thumping bass and clasping electronic snare, the pair generously gave into the passions of their expectant audience, penetrating the beat with their unique use of live drums; rapid hi-hat and infectiously rhythmic tom fills. While employing the recognizable sounds of the latest LP, including snippets of Ya and Meet Me At The End (mixed further with virulently groovy fragments of tunes such as Here Again), Factory Floor’s visuals upheld this complimentary familiarity, revolving the rapid dance of geometric shapes in shades of neon pink, electric violet and deep blue, around occasional interludes of purely white, eye-paining flashes; together being wholly reminiscent of their contemporary, neat album artworks. With the intensifying vigor of the drums, the deepening bruise of the prerecorded beat and exaggeration of the disco-imbued sounds, almost a third of the room were on their feet surrounding the duo, despite the narrow restriction of the cinema’s columned pathways.
With this, Factory Floor’s set came to a sad yet well-received and timed ending. Here’s to many more unconventional audio-visual cinema raves, right?