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Floating Points

Reflections - Mojave Desert

Floating Points began as the solo project of Sam Shepherd before it became clear the immersive, intricate nature of his music demanded expansion. Following his critically acclaimed debut Elaenia this is exactly what happened and Floating Points live became a band of incredibly talented musicians with Sam at the helm. Now, Floating Points has announced a new short film and soundtrack, featuring entirely new and unheard compositions - Reflections - Mojave Desert via Pluto on 30 June. The film, in collaboration with director Anna Diaz Ortuño, finds the ensemble in a thrilling sonic exploration of environment under an endless desert sky.

“Whilst we were out playing and exploring the area around us - the sound reflecting from the rocks, the sound of the wind between them, complete stillness at night and packs of roaming coyotes in the distance, it became apparent that we could use this as its own unique recording environment.” - Sam Shepherd, Floating Points

The first in a planned series of environmental recordings by Floating Points to be filmed and recorded at different locations around the world; the recording was made last year, as Floating Points travelled to the Mojave to rehearse in between US touring. Immediately struck by the distinct sonic tapestry created by the rock formations and valleys, Sam and the band set up a recording operation and filmed this new work at the base of the natural sculptures they encountered. The music of Reflections - Mojave Desert mirrors the landscape: soaring and vast, dynamic and intimate, centred around two longer works and shorter pieces that create a singular and seamless experience.

Reflections - Mojave Desert begins with chords played on a Rhodes Chroma and recorded with a surround sound microphone. Throughout the filming, microphones were placed throughout the landscape to capture the natural sonic textures of the desert: the undulating sound of wind, a bird call, the rustling of bushes and more created a backdrop on which much of the record rests. The music softly shifts from the Fender Rhodes introduction to ‘Silurian Blue’, an expansive full band piece that balances refined restraint with explosiveness. In one scene, ‘Kites’, Sam Shepherd walks through a valley with a super directional microphone, swinging it back and forth as a synthesiser loop gets faster to showcase the natural reverb and shifting phase of sound waves. ‘Kelso Dunes’ signals the film’s final act: the sky grows dark, lasers flash, the band and rocks gleaming in the pitch black around them.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Floating Points is in peerless form at the moment, and "Reflections" could well be his most emotive piece to date. A meditation on the Mojave Desert, the disc sees Shepherd sweeping through kosmische synth drones, glistening arps and celestial jazz like only he can.

TRACK LISTING

1. Mojave Desert
2. Silurian Blue
3. Kites
4. Kelso Dunes
5. Lucerne Valley

For the past 10 years, all roads Shepherd has followed have been slowly leading to 'Elaenia' - an album with roots deep in his formative years, and one that draws upon everything Shepherd has done so far. An album that provides context to the music that Shepherd has been making to date. Every DJ set he’s performed, every talent he has produced, every composition he has written are thought of as precursors to 'Elaenia' - a dazzling score which puts Shepherd in the spotlight as a composer who has produced an album that bridges the gap between his rapturous dance music and formative classical roots. Drawing inspiration from classical, jazz, electronic music, soul and even Brazilian popular music, 'Elaenia' - named after the bird of the same name - is the epitome of the forward-thinking Floating Points vision in 2015.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: A big hit in the shop this one, and rightfully so. I remember first hearing the soaring arpeggios and jazzy twists, and being thoroughly hooked. Known to use a Buchla 227 and an Arp Odyssey, Sam Shepherd has really shown that there is no need to shy away from melody whilst utilising patchable synths, and Elaenia is all the better for it.

TRACK LISTING

1. Nespole
2. Silhouettes (I, II & III)
3. Argenté
4. Elaenia
5. Thin Air
6. For Marmish
7. Peroration Six

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