Floating Points – ‘Shadows’ (EP Review)

Floating Points – Shadows EP

Eglo Records

 

Over a flurry of early releases back in 2009, London producer Sam Shepherd introduced the world to his irresistible blend of Detroit house and jazz funk stylings as Floating Points, a name that, over the following couple of years, would become synonymous with a smooth keys, deep bass, and astounding productions.

In particular, the primary calling card that was his ‘Vacuum’ EP introduced the world to Eglo Records, an imprint Shepherd runs alongside Rinse FM’s Alexander Nut. Despite flitting around between such luminary homes as Ninja Tune and Planet Mu, Shepherd has always returned to Eglo, and does so again for ‘Shadows’.

Opening track ‘Myrtle Avenue’ is a slow-build monster. 10 minutes of electro-fretless bass flourishes and forgiving house rhythms allow Shepherd to flex his muscles with layers of Tribe Called Quest-esque keys, constructing builds and drops without ever losing the overall relaxed swagger.

‘Obfuse’ picks the pace up slightly with a skipping 2-step rhythm. Shepherd’s ability to create space in his tracks never fails to amaze, and despite its busy drum work, ‘Obfuse’ seems to have a layer of air between every tiny sound. ‘Realise’, on the other hand, is just downright floating on the stuff. Here Shepherd keeps the drums muted so as not to disturb the light synth chords and delicate atmospheres above, the occasional half-syllable of a vocal sample jumping out of the arrangement at opportune moments.

The jazz funk four-to-the-floor of ‘Arp3’ recalls old St. Germain and DJ Food stuff, indicating an influence itself on the more recent work of others returning to that sound. The Detroit flavour is most evident here, from the swing of the rhythms to the sporadic and distant shouts of dance floor revellers from a bygone era, before the washed out guitar and slow attack synths of ‘Sais’ return the mood to tranquil, gently bookending the EP with ‘Myrtle Avenue’ with some jazz-flecked Rhodes passages.

It’s interesting to note that ‘Shadows’ was released on the same day as Sepalcure’s full length debut, as the two sit at separate and equally interesting points on the bass music spectrum, yet complement each other sonically and creatively. Shepherd’s own star continues to rise however, and with the pace of production not letting up, Eglo appears to have a safe banker on its hands for a while yet.


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