Label: Ninja Tune
Floating Points’ first album in four years – a blast of electronic experimentalism, nodding to the UK bass scene he emerged from in the late 2000s, such as the dystopian low-end bounce of lead single ‘LesAlpx’ but also some of his most expressive songs, his signature melancholia is there in the album’s sublime mellower moments or in the Buchla synthesizer, whose eerie modulation haunts the album.
As anyone who witnessed him play at our overheated store during this year’s frenzied ADE edition (or anywhere else for that matter) or anyone who ever danced to club favorites like ‘King Bromeliad’ or ‘Nuits Sonores’ (which is basically everyone) will tell you, Floating Points always adds a special touch to everything he does. ‘Crush’, his latest full-length effort, is no exception, although in this case his energy is not primarely directed at the dancefloor.
Like on earlier albums experimentation is still key on Shepherd’s new album, but the somewhat rigid perfectionism that was holding him back a bit on these earlier efforts is now replaced by a newfound free flowing energy that takes him everywhere he wants to go.
Opener ‘Falaise’ combines echoes of Philip Glass and Steve Reich’s more recent string work with buchla experimentation before sliding into a modern take on nineties IDM over a warm electro-type beat with ‘Last Bloom’. The same glowing warmth also prevails on the blissed out ‘Anasickmodular’, this time using a classic UK garage rhythm and AFX-like stutters as a solid base to go all out. Shepherd slows down the album’s flow on the pastoral modern-classical ‘Requiem for CS70 and Strings’ (exactly what it says on the tin) and the minimalist frequency test that is ‘Karakul’ before finally giving in to the dancefloor with the earlier single ‘LesAlpx’. ‘Bias’ is another UK-garage inspired stepper (or better yet 2-stepper) that is expertly mummified with warm chords and off-kilter soundscapes. Aphex Twin’s early work seems to be the number one inspiration for the beautifully intricate ‘Environments’ and the two part ‘Apoptose’, but is given a totally new identity by Shepherd, who has so much going on on this new album it’s clear his mind is overflowing with creative juices right now. ‘Crush’ is his most accomplished and imaginative album so far, largely thanks to his relatively loose approach. A strong contender for Album of the Year. (RO).
Standard LP: 140g black vinyl housed in a glossy sleeve with artwork printed inside and out, 4 page A4 booklet featuring a score of album track ‘Birth’. Download code included.