Floating Points - Elaenia review

Floating Points – Elaenia review

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In an interview, Sam Shepherd explained that he named his debut album as “Floating Points” after a dream. This album has an excellent collection of songs and is built up from his 2011 EP titled “Shadows”, the house track “Sparkling Controversy” and last year’s “Nuits Sonores and Nectarines 12-inch. Shepherd has always been keen on bringing together different genres of music such as incorporating rhythm and blues and soul to make tracks that are suited for the dance enthusiasts.

On this debut album, Elaenia, the tracks are heavily influenced by jazz music to present a sound that is guaranteed to impress his long term fans that have been following him for the last five years.

After his vivid dream that involved a migratory bird that after being left behind by the flock is swallowed up by the forest, he recorded the song Elaenia the following morning. The song was made with a Fendor Rhodes electric piano and a hint of arcane synthesizers. This song is the second longest song on this record at just over seven minutes long. It is the sparest track with a few rumbles, cords with a lot of tones. This song is simple on its surface but very complex beneath. This song is best heard on full blast because the quiet parts are reticent: the song’s spirit lies in the melodies not in tiny details.


All the songs on this album have simple pulses and signatures; the songs utilize analogue synthesizers and combine them with live instruments. The instruments that are heavily used on this album include guitars, piano, strings, electric bass and live drums. This is an electronic album that can be defined as warm and fluid with a timeless feel. Elaenia is 42 minutes long with songs that seem to complement one another. For instance, the song “Argente” ends with an anxious rush that serves as the foundation for the upbeat track “Thin Air”.

“Silhouettes (I, II, III)” is a ten-minute first single with a head rush type of music feel, this song takes the listener on a journey and this aspect is evident in the whole album from “Nespole” to “Peroration Six”. “Silhouettes (I, II, III)” has interlocking conflicting sounds that seem scattered only to come together and form a tight focus. The drums take this track through an ebb and flow, from the high-action to the fast swelling strings and choral sounds that arise midway through all the way to the song’s climax.

The album’s highlight is “Peroration Six” the song steadily rises with perfect drum sounds and flourishing strings over the five minutes. The track comes together to create a whirlwind noise for a strong finish.

This is an assured production from an artist who was in no rush in putting all the songs together. Elaenia is a combination of meticulously crafted pieces of work that took hours in piecing together. This album is a rare piece from a more dance-oriented artist but is worth listening.

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