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Floating Points

'Elaenia' (Pluto)

8/10

  • Joseph Twin
  • 3 November 2015
Floating Points

Floating Points makes dance music that's the absolute antithesis of EDM. Like his close friends and frequent DJing partners Kieran 'Four Tet' Hebden and Dan 'Caribou' Snaith, the producer (real name Sam Shepherd) is someone who brings such a calm and scholarly vibe to his music that it often feels as if it exists in a completely different universe to the creations of Steve Aoki and his ilk.

His work is all about mathematical precision in everything that he does, and his new album, 'Eleania', takes that concept to new extremes. Opener 'Nespole', for example, is a completely drama-free start: instead there's just undulating, flickering analogue synth repetitions which are slowly interwoven with a gentle house bassline which eventually fades away again after five minutes. That's it, and no more. Elsewhere, while 'Silhouettes (I, II & III)' and closing track 'Peroration Six' have much more going on, they also ebb and flow very gradually, with each element seeping in and out so languidly that it feels like the complete opposite of the drop. The rest of the seven tracks here feel barely there on a first listen, too. Three

of them are essentially just ultra-ambient synth ripples, while 'For Marmish' is essentially the most restrained jazz jam you could ever imagine. All this, of course, is absolutely not for anyone who desperately needs a banging beat in their life, all day and every day. But – and it's a very big and important but – Shepherd isn't just some egghead who exists outside of clubland. He, Hebden and Snaith were all able to enjoy a home away from home among the cosmopolitan party crowd of Plastic People, and even when his compositions are at their quietest and most subtle, you can still hear sounds that have been designed to work on its sound system for dancers with long attention spans. 'Eleania' demands focus, too, but pay attention to it and you'll be rewarded.

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