Floating Points brings impeccable, brainy electronic music to Smart Bar on Saturday | Bleader

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Floating Points brings impeccable, brainy electronic music to Smart Bar on Saturday

Posted By on 06.23.15 at 12:00 PM

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Floating Points
  • Courtesy Smart Bar
  • Floating Points

This Saturday is one of those instances when there are too many good shows happening on the same night: Wadada Leo Smith, Kindred the Family Soul, Ty Segall (sold out), Big Daddy Kane, hell, even "Weird Al" Yankovic (which is sold out). But all of these shows take place at around the same time, whereas UK electronic artist Floating Points (aka Sam Shepherd) doesn't play until late at night. You should try and go to this show.

I've written about Floating Points, though only briefly, for an In Rotation I did a few years ago. At the time, I was playing his Shadows EP (released on Eglo, the label he cofounded) constantly, and I would now count it among my favorite releases of the decade so far. It's the best introduction to Floating Points' sound, which furtively espouses elements of dubstep, broken beat, house, and especially jazz fusion. Actually, it's the resemblance to fusion artists such as Julian Priester, Donald Byrd, Herbie Hancock, and Freddie Hubbard that separates Shadows from many other electronic releases. While Floating Points' music usually features a consistent tempo and repeating motifs and melodies, his tracks nonetheless change constantly by adding subtle shadings, incidental percussion, and tons of instrumental noodling. More than anything, the sound is pristine, lacking any compression, dryness, or glitch.

Floating Points hasn't released a full-length, nor has he offered up much other material since he dropped Shadows, but what he has delivered indicates that he's worth keeping an eye on. Last year he produced a few tracks on an underground-R&B album (Fatima's Yellow Memories, also on Eglo), released a couple excellent 12-inches, and earlier this year collaborated with Moroccan musician Maalem Mahmoud Guinia for Marhaba, an EP on James Holden's Border Community label that pairs Guinia's traditional music with Floating Points and Holden's electronic additions. As today's 12 O'Clock Track, I'm including the one song he worked on, "Mimoun Marhaba," which indicates that Floating Points might be venturing into new musical territory. And as a bonus, I'm including "Nuits Sonores," the A side of a 12-inch released last year that only increases the anticipation for a Floating Points full-length.

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