We kick off this monthly feature with one of the great debut albums of the twenty-first century, the mesmeric Elaenia by Floating Points.
Elaenia is a kaleidoscopic journey of the trials and tribulations, the unprecedented highs and the crushing lows, of the producer otherwise known as Sam Shepherd and his life playing and creating musical compositions all across the globe.
It’s a culmination of forever wanting to expand and further ones’ consciousness from the reality we face, and the emotional rollercoasters we all experience through our journeys in life.
Sam Shepherd is a neuroscientist by day, studying a PhD at the prestigious UCL; by night he’s a fully-fledged DJ/producer/composer who’s been tearing apart dance floors in a unique way since his first release, For You/Radiality (below) , back in 2009 and co-founding the hugely groundbreaking record label Eglo Records. His consistent stream of EPs and mixes gradually built up a following of like-minded enthusiasts who loved the way his productions soothed and caressed the soul.
Anyone who’s seen the 29-year-old perform will know just how individual and mind-blowing his performances are. The strictly vinyl sessions are an adventure into a universe of musical creations that most thought never existed, a testament to the relentless crate digging across record stores all over the world.
He provokes response in a very unusual yet affectionate way, making the listener fall deeper into a state of relaxed consciousness, warmth and ambition like no other artist around.
This may sound a little far-fetched, but believe me when I say this album has been in the making for nearly a decade. It’s an organic listen that has been nurtured and sculptured through time and essence to form an LP of truly mind-blowing, experimental capacity. Being influenced from a cross-section of inspiration from classic 70s soul-jazz to Brazilian tropicalia, British trip-hop to classical harmonies of orchestral delight.
It is nigh on impossible to pigeonhole this album, or even the artist, into a designated genre; it’s more an education and enlightenment into the wondrous things that music can do.
The incredible “Silhouettes (Parts I, II, III)” floats (no pun intended) and weaves effortlessly and so freely through an arrangement of discovery and personal reflection, beginning with a bouncy yet sinister beat and building to crescendos of rich synth indulgence accompanied by jazz infused drum breaks. It’s a trilogy of musical fusion and rare vision that highlights the range of artistry and originality he so naturally possesses.
(This is the music video involving a shortened cut of all 3 compositions):
The penultimate track, “For Marmish,” is a heavenly concoction of seducing production and hypnotizing piano work designed to sedate the soul.
These are just two numbers that have had an underlying effect on me, to completely dissect the whole album and the reactions and repercussions it enhances would probably be about the same length of a short novel.
Admittedly, it may take a few listens to be as passionate about this album as I am and for some, understandably, they will not appreciate. But for the odd few who’ve had a chance to let this album wash over you like the pure graceful ocean water, you’ll know exactly what I’m on about.
Those who like their beats with a sense of the unknown and unexpected, this is an essential.