Combining post-punk, industrial, and dance in equally hypnotic and abrasive ways, London's enigmatic Factory Floor garnered comparisons to greats like Joy Division and Throbbing Gristle soon after they formed in 2005. However, when the band added vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Nik Colk Void, Factory Floor truly began crafting its signature style of hard-hitting beats, minimalist synths, and android-like vocals. On 2013's self-titled album and 2016's 25 25, they perfected a pared-down yet subtly shifting repetition that frequently reached transcendent heights.
Factory Floor's first lineup included drummer/vocalist Gabriel Gurnsey, guitarist/percussionist Mark Harris, and keyboardist/bassist/vocalist Dominic Butler. In 2008, the Factory Floor trio released its limited-edition debut single "Bipolar," and followed it later that year with the Planning Application EP, which featured former KaitO singer Nik Colk Void on guest vocals. Harris left Factory Floor and formed the electronic duo Shift Work, and Void joined the group as a full-time member.
In 2009, the Japanese release Talking on Cliffs arrived. After signing to Blast First, the band's busy 2010 included the March release of the "Lying" single, which featured a remix of the song "Wooden Box" by Joy Division/New Order drummer Stephen Morris, and the arrival of their critically acclaimed debut mini-album, Untitled, in May. That September, they contributed a remix to Grinderman's second album. In 2011, Void collaborated with Throbbing Gristle's Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti as Carter Tutti Void; the trio made their debut at Mute Records' Short Circuit Festival (their performance was released as 2012's Transverse). Later that year, Factory Floor made their DFA debut with the single "Two Different Ways," which showcased a more streamlined, overtly danceable take on their hard-hitting repetition; another single, "Real Love," appeared on Optimo.
Factory Floor continued work on its full-length debut in 2012 while in residency at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, where the trio collaborated with artists including Dan Tombs and Peter Gordon. During this time, Colk Void released the single Gold E, a limited-edition release made out of polyurethane plastic resin intended to warp and distort over time, thus changing its sound. Early in 2013, the "Fall Back" single preceded the release of Factory Floor in September. Following the album's release, Butler left the group, with Colk Void and Gurnsey continuing Factory Floor as a duo. The following year, the band issued a series of remix EPs for the single "How You Say" that included reworkings by Helena Hauff, Daniel Avery, Bookworms, and Gunnar Haslam. Factory Floor also collaborated with visual artist Mirza on "/o/o/o/o/," a single commemorating his show at the Lisson Gallery.
To make Factory Floor's second album, Colk Void and Gurnsey experimented with different gear, with the goal of making more flexible and mobile music. In 2016, Factory Floor released the tracks "Dial Me In" and "Ya" before the arrival of their second album, 25 25, that August. A year later, the group released the 25 25+5 EP, which included remixes by Klara Lewis, Charles Manier, and Jlin. Gurnsey and Colk Void then took some time to pursue solo projects. Gurnsey's acid house-influenced debut album Physical appeared in August 2018 on Erol Alkan's Phantasy label. Meanwhile, NPVR, Colk Void's collaboration with Editions Mego founder Peter Rehberg, released its debut album that January; that July, she issued Recollection Pulse #3, a demo of a piece she performed with the orchestra collective s t a r g a z e earlier in the year. In October 2018, Factory Floor released Soundtrack for a Film, a score for the classic 1927 sci-fi film Metropolis that was commissioned by the London Science Museum, on the duo's own Heart of Data label. ~ Heather Phares