HEXA :: Factory Photographs (Room40)

Tuning into this 10-track album, and one instantly finds the brooding lost-worlds of abandoned factories evident right from the start.

HEXA :: Factory Photographs (Room40)

As described on the liner notes, “HEXA is Lawrence English and Jamie Stewart. Factory Photographs is their soundtrack to David Lynch’s evocative exploration of the passing of the industrial age.” Tuning into this 10-track album, and one instantly finds the brooding lost-worlds of abandoned factories evident right from the start.

“Sledge” takes shape with a rummaging, dark-industrial sheen. Noises scattered about, broken up by wind passing through cracked and opaque windows. Having grown up in the Tool & Die capital of Canada in Windsor, Ontario—just 20-mins South of the Motor City divided geographically by the Detroit River—my father worked in a Radiator manufacturing factory for over 30-years. My older brother and I were always excited when we were invited to the “bring your kids to work day” in the 1980’s. Back then, the factory was a bustling powerhouse of massive Italian Punch Presses and archaic looking machines with large green and red buttons making all kinds of loud and strange noises. One thing I’ll never forget is when my brother and I started to discover electronic music later in the 80s and early 90s. We’d play an array of music from our basement, a roomy space converted to our own listening area. We would queue up the volume as loud as possible, but when my father would come home from his day shift, he’d rip open the basement door and in a frustrated tone would ask us why we were playing “music” that sounded just like the factory where he worked! Of course, this would only happen when the genre’s were industrial-based with heavy leanings on bass, beats and distortion. I’ll always come to remember the classic and widely used 90s sample: “I never heard any music like this in my life before, and if I have, I don’t know where I’ve heard it,” and am pretty sure it’s exactly what my father was thinking as he opened that door.

Factory Photographs elicits similar moods from these long lost memories, the constant metallic banter, broken clips and decayed humming sounds from afar in that old warehouse. Each piece filters through these ears as nostalgia brought back to life in some kind of reawakening. Highlighting low-frequency emissions such as “Vertical Horizons” and “Lumber,” these are the darker, more disturbing and treacherous pieces. Elsewhere you’ll be hard-pressed to find any light leaking through. “A Breath” weaves its solemn tone and distant drone, a vacant space, subtle clang and lost sheet-metal scrapings scatter about each footstep. “Over Horizontal Plains” casts a stormy, overcast haze, its elongated rusty tones piercing through over-sized loading dock doors. HEXA forages through these vacant, echoed spaces—flashlight in hand, and an eerie soundtrack to match the background as Factory Photographs leaves the listener in a surreal state.

Factory Photographs is available on Room40.

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