A major statement here from Floating Points. Elaenia is a full-length record that spans everything the producer / composer has done so far. Jazz, Soul, and Brazilian music are just as important to the sound of Elaenia as the electronic dance tracks most know Floating Points for. At times reminiscent of Flying Lotus’ more ornate work, this really is quite a record.
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How long have we been waiting for this for? Since the release of the monumental ‘Shadows’ EP back in 2011, probably. Yes, he’s released a few little things since then, but nothing quite so massive and ambitious. Here it is - the album my housemate acted completely nonchalant towards because of the lack of house bangerz.
A mostly accurate description, he sort of hit the nail on the head. There aren’t really any 4x4 dancefloor destroying anthems like ‘Arp 3’ here. But that’s far from a bad thing, cuz we’ve already heard what he can do in that setting, and it’s damn good and we should appreciate what’s already been made in that style. I reckon he’ll save that stuff for the 12”s in future, but for now, we have his complex sound flipped on it’s head to be presented as a cinematic, jazzy electronic exploration reminiscent of The Cinematic Orchestra jamming with Jeremy Greenspan in chill mode with a touch of Bonobo circa 2008.
Carefully composed, Elaenia focuses on the mastery of dynamics, Shepherd gradually winds and unwinds the songs, back to the bare instrumental essentials, then swelling into climaxes and sweet anti-climaxes such as the string/vocal endpoint of the ‘Silhouettes’ suite. The title track is a dream, electric piano sparkling away alongside the evolving and occasionally harsh blocks of synth sound. The synths mostly go out the door as it progresses, leaving the piano to play the gentlest night-song ever. There are drums too, the aforementioned ‘Silhouettes’ centring on a rather funky breakbeat, recorded au naturel by the sounds of it.
This is the Floating Points of the FP Ensemble, heard in full-length glory. If you want another ‘Vacuum Boogie’, play it at 33 or something. If you’re after the deep electronic dust of ‘Shadows’, see track 6. Or just listen to ‘Shadows’ again.
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