As EDM goes today, it is a lot more about catchy hooks and unique vocal collaborators — in other words, more pop and commercial than it has ever been. Band Factory Floor, recently reduced to a duo comprising of Nik Colk and Gabe Gurnsey, however, have something else in mind when they create their signature thumping sound. Their hypnotic beats on the recently released sophomore album 25 25 are a promise for a more minimalist kind of electronic music that can exist in a world of its own.

’25 25′ by Factory Floor Album Review

The mood of Factory Floor’s latest release can be described as dark, nocturnal, hypnotizing and angsty. Though never explicitly stated in their music, it is a way of working through complex occurrences such as the departure of their modular synth player Dominic Butler. The band’s sound now feels less like live music than ever. Rather 25 25 consciously allows us into a sparsely populated limbo of dark electronica, where repetition and fragmented samples dominate.

Most of the tracks are reduced to a basic beat that threatens to never cease and occasional ornamentations, similarly oriented towards percussions and synths. The repetitive nature of the music is also its most challenging quality for the listener – the tracks often feel endless or at least much longer than they actually are. The title track “25 25” is thoroughly mesmerizing and catches us by surprise when it comes to a sudden end with only one of the beat layers continuing for an extra bar before jumping right into the next track – “Dial Me In.” The latter is a more dynamic piece, which is perhaps one of the most refreshing ones on the record. It’s beat is more varied too – not in pace but in texture. The duo have experimented with new samplers, live instrumentation and analog technology on this album and this is one of the tracks that clearly shows their success. Multiple layers of sonic effects are added and blend with the main beat line, creating a rich and infectious sound.

25 25 might be challenging at first, but at its heart it is closer to the origins of retro electronic music than most of what is being produced today – think more Steve Reich than Giorgio Moroder. The band’s persevering thumping sound remains true to their aesthetic identity even as they explore new approaches. Even when the record relentlessly exhausts all of its energy onto recurrent phrases, it’s definitely worth a listen.

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