Raw repetition 

A few years back, I had a wretched dream in which Spoon recorded an album of tinkly lounge piano music, in debt to the worst indulgences of Steely Dan’s milieu. The album was titled Raw Repetition, and I’m glad it never came to pass (though They Want Your Soul features a blue-note-tastic cover of “I Just Don’t Understand”).

I mention this because of Factory Floor‘s monomaniacal comeback single, “Dial Me In”, which rides a three-note acid bassline for all its 6.5 minute duration.

The racing jersey that adorns the cover of the new album from which it’s taken (titled, cryptically, 25 25) foreshadows the fact that the track is an endurance event. Is there motion, or are the two wheels of the bicycle (Nik Colk Void and Gabe Guernsey) spinning so fast as to appear stationary?

A few months ago I saw Factory Floor perform at Hackney’s Village Underground. It was not the show I had hoped for. Taking to the stage after rather obtuse, punishing sets from Shit Robot, Karen Gwyer and Kara-Lis Coverdale, the duo (for they are now bereft of Dominic Butler) subjected me to an ascetic assault on the senses. Of course, that could have been an enormous pleasure, but I had expected a vibe closer to that of Nisennenmondai, that most locked-in of Japanese post-industrial acts, who I had the pleasure of seeing play at a Battles concert a few years ago. And so I left disappointed, and a bit disheartened at what might follow.

On close inspection, “Dial Me In”, though it hews close to what I witnessed at Village Underground, reveals its own types of pleasure. Even in the first minute, a few skitters of percussion dance at the margins of the mix. As the track develops, Void’s sinister lead vocals are interjected with mutilated whimpers, and that bassline is subtly buffed and tweaked. A hi-hat wafts in and out of the audible field, and then in double-time. By its conclusion, you’ve stared through the microscope enough that the track’s complexities are made visible; logical, even.

These are the joys of repetition—provided it’s not too raw.

25 25 is released on DFA Records, on 19th August 2016.


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