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Factory Floor
Eve Black Eve White
Cosey Club @ ICA, London
Saturday March 29 2010

Saturday night at the Institute Of Contemporary Arts, just up the road from Buckingham Palace: a very civilized alternative to the noisesome rock 'n' roll holes I usually inhabit. Tonight, the ICA is hosting Cosey Club - 'a club night that takes inspiration from the working methods and identity of Cosey Fanni Tutti', to quote the blurb. That's a highfalutin' way to describe what is, basically, a gig with bands and DJs - there's nothing happening tonight that doesn't already happen at, say, the Hoxton Square Bar And Kitchen, or in the Experimental Circle tent at the Offset Festival. But I'll allow the ICA its moment of shameless hyperbole, because - what the hell - it looks like a good gig.

And yes, Cosey herself - 25% of Throbbing Gristle, 50% of Chris And Cosey, is here tonight. Chris Carter, too, the two of them strolling casually around, just like they aren't industial pioneers, innovators of electronica, and all-round art catalysts. So, let's edge our way to the front and see what's about to emerge from the catalytic converter tonight.

Eve Black/Eve White

Uber-minimalist and yet effortlessly filling the ICA's performance space with sound, Eve Black/Eve White send rolling clouds of voodoo electronica surging out into the atmosphere. The beats are big, but the backing is sparse. There's space between the bursts of thrumming electricity around which the band's music is built; space that's filled by the vocals - rich and soulful, the human element in the midst of the machinery.

There's a certain sense of the after-dark about Eve Black/Eve White's music, too, a compelling hint of something sinister lurking under the stairs. It's this element that ensures the band keeps the attention of the crowd, even though, with just two people and a sampler on stage, there are few - well, none, to be exact - rock 'n' roll theatrics about the performance. But that's beside the point. The Eves can make their presence felt by more subtle means. Mind you,having said that, their cover of Peggy Lee's 'Fever' has plenty of rock 'n' roll slink 'n' slide about it, even though it's stripped to electronic bones in this incarnation. Eve Black/Eve White prove you don't have to be Hanoi Rocks to let a bit of rockin' attitude into the room.

Factory FloorFactory Floor are shapes and silhouettes in the smoke and lights; they sound like ghosts in the machine. A swelling, drilling pulse launches their set - this is 'Lying', their sonic calling card, a song that seems to emerge from an alternative universe rather than simply start.

The pulse builds, washes of guitar and electronics fuzz impressionistically with half-heard vocals. But then the drums arrive, crash-landing on the song like a beat-bomb, and the whole thing surges forward like someone's just turned the voltage up. Factory Floor are defiantly old-school, in that their music is made organically: it's all drums and wires, black boxes and human beans. They're certainly not a stand-behind-a-laptop-and-pretend-to-press-buttons band, and they're all the better for it.

The drums give the music a structure as no-shit as scaffolding on a tower block - I bet Factory Floor remember the days when those mad professors of chopped-up electronics, Cabaret Voltaire, used a drum kit to drive their racket. It's an effective juxtaposition, but in these days of programmable-everything, never normally seen. The Floors (or do we call them the Factories?) deploy the acoustic/electronic colliision with concentrated energy, and the resulting stew of sound hammers and quivers fit to rattle the silverware down the road at Buck House. Maybe they should just rename the ICA the Weird Art Disco. Install Cosey as mistress of ceremonies, and send an invitation to Her Maj while they're at it.

Eve Black/Eve White: Myspace

Factory Floor: MySpace

 

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