Feb Album of the Month: Floating Points – Elaenia

When the new floating points album was suggested for February there was an expected 50/50 split on knowing who or what Floating Points is or were. Floating Points is a guy from east London via Manchester that is known by friends and family as Sam Shepherd. For those more inclined to a 4/4 beat he’s been around for a while and often is thrown in the same barrel of genre as Caribou and four tet. Partially for his friendship to them both but also for their ability to throw out many of the established boundaries of dance music and push on their own agenda of all things music.

I’ve read a few reviews on this album, and although the reviewers have rated it, not one has pinpointed what they liked. There are the more accessible tracks such as “Silhouettes” but the album is much more than that.

Elaenia isn’t a dance record in my opinion. It sits more in the realm of experiential jazz or chill out (not in a late 90’s compilation way). This is an important point, don’t approach this as a dance record as I did and I struggled at first. In-fact on first listen I wasn’t a fan an had to take a while off to clear my assumptions and re-visit.

This album has changing moods to it with each song, though still maintains an over all flow that appeared for me after a few listens.  I read a review that said this album was an extension of his ep’s. I think it’s a prequel.  Gone are the loops replaced by live cords and strange sounds that sit nicely together.

The album lives to the name of it’s creator as it floats about with key rhythmic points that stick with you, ‘Thin Air’ and ‘Marmish’ are great examples of this. I can imagine Kendrick Lamar rhyming over both for some reason. In-fact most of the album.

It look me a few listens but I really like this album. Like many reviews I’ve read there is no distinct reason for it. Maybe because it’s short and it’s just the right length at 7 songs to let it take you away, day dream a bit, and then get back to the real world unscathed.

6 comments

  1. whyohwhyohwhy

    Often it’s the write-ups I look forward to as much as the music, and being a bunch of talented buggers, it’s been a pleasure reading your prose. And you’ve really hit the nail on the head here Nolan. It’s electronic, but it’s not dance music. It’s way more interesting than that. Yes, there’s parallels with Caribou and Four Tet (another aritst I’ve just never really got into) but it’s once removed.

    I’ve been away of Floating Points for a while, but never quite broken into his music properly. Some of his stuff on Eglo is amazing, and just makes me want to see him in somewhere open air like Croatia. This is much more abstract and less four-four, and it wears its jazzy influences large. This track, Silhouettes, is a cut of 70s-esque breezy melodies, but then there’s the synths just flitting in the distance, making us remember it’s contemporary. Then the free-form percussion comes in, and, like almost every track on here, it turns into something else. I’ve been listening a lot at work and walking since it turned up, and it’s really mood music.

    There’s more overt electronic stuff like Nespole, but even that’s not a dance track. I get the whole Kendrick references too, these could be some incredible backing tracks. Elenia is a nod to film sountracks, more of a soundscape than a record. But Peroration 6 (daft names, aren’t they?) is simply epic. I listened to it on repeat for a good half hour this evening when I was trying to work through stuff and leave.

    It’s crept up on me in a pleasing way. Will it last? Who knows? But for all the froth written about stuff like this it’s just interesting, forward-thinking music that has a lot of texture to it. Good choice.

  2. misterstory

    Hi. Good evening.
    Its very easy not to come at this as ‘dance music’ if you’ve never heard of / heard of Mr. Points before. Agreed. Not dance music. A fair chunk of it is not even electronica. My favourite track, Perforation Six could almost sit on Mogwai’s Young Team (great praise in my eyes). For Marmish sit’s comfortably next to Perforation Six but for me these two tracks stand out a bit. Both as the most interesting, listenable tracks on the album an in their more organic production.
    I find instrumental music is much easier to get the chance to listen to as I work / have on with kids around without it ‘wrecking my ears off’ (Silvia’s phrase). For this reason I have listened to this a lot …. though it does ‘wreck my ears off’ with the kids in the same room!
    I am finding this an odd listen but I am listening to it. Not giving up my heart yet other than for Perforation Six. I’d very much like an album of that please.

  3. whyohwhyohwhy

    Peroration Six is a masterpiece, but the album is also growing on me. I think if you try to listen too hard sometimes you can get hung up on things too much, but arguably I’ve enjoyed this the most when i’ve just let it wash over me. Silhouettes is also fantastic. It’s a good example of music I think I could buy but just don’t get around to it, and I’m glad it’s been nudged in my direction, because this is a really nice contrast to a lot of the albums we usually listen to.

  4. David Allison

    I’m enjoying this, but it isn’t setting me on fire. I’m not sure what else to say. I like its vibe. I’d definitely put it on in the background if I had mates round, but I don’t find myself wanting to listen to it intently on my own. How’s everyone else feeling after having it a while?

  5. whyohwhyohwhy

    I’m really enjoying this. It’s a pretty beautiful and a proper grower. Also, it’s fantastic to listen to when I’m in need of relaxing, lyric-free music. Ok, so that’s not exactly a huge selling point for some, but it means I listen to it a lot.

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