Floating Points: Elaenia review – a soaring, beautiful electronic jazz journey


Floating Points, AKA Sam Shepherd, has a repuation for being a DJ’s DJ, but for his debut full-length he has made an improvisational suite of songs that have more in common with jazz and classical than club thumpers. Like his friends Four Tet and Caribou, his music has a meditative quality and builds like a late-night set, though Elaenia is in a flock of its own. It’s so tightly wound with ideas that there’s always something new to unravel, but that doesn’t mean it’s a knotty listen: it builds delicately and almost imperceptibly, until you’re not so much lost in sound as wrapped in it like a fleecy blanket. Nespole gradually intensifies with a restless, sunlit groove and flickering saxophone samples, while 10-minuter Silhouettes (I, II & III) blends tricksy freeform jazz drumming with flashes of swooning strings, creating something urgent and romantic. And each track cleverly slips into the next: even in the middle of chaos that eventually envelopes final track Peroration Six, its droning middle C somehow takes on an emotional significance and pulls you through to the end. Like its namesake – a lithe South American bird – Elaenia flits, swoops and soars beautifully, impossible to pin down, let alone cage.


Kate Hutchinson

The GuardianTramp

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