UK DJ/producer Floating Points (aka Sam Shepherd) has made a considerable name for himself in the left-field house scene, but his debut album doesn’t have a single track for the dance floor. Instead, the songs on Elaenia sound closer to psychedelic jazz and post-rock, and feel more like improvised jam sessions than carefully sequenced electronic music. It’s a risky strategy, but the gamble pays off big. Turns out there’s no need for a DJ-friendly single if the whole album is strong enough to repeatedly play from beginning to end.
Dominant textures are electric piano, acoustic jazz drums and warm, analog synth gurgles, with occasional sprinkles of other instruments. This lends the music a distinctly timeless feel, allowing Shepherd to gracefully combine references from the past 50 years of experimental cosmic funk without committing to any specific era. These influences have always been present in his more club-friendly work, so in some ways it feels like he’s just peeled back the thumping kick drums to reveal the subtle melodies and elegant concepts that were there all along.
Top track: Silhouettes (I, II, III)