You step off the crowded dance floor and stumble out into the club’s back alley, ears ringing profusely. The downpour must have ceased recently. Every surface glistens with a reflective sheen, and the smell of damp asphalt hangs heavy in the air. A man enters one end of the narrow corridor and begins walking towards you. You call out, with no response. He’s close. Your body tenses with fear. He passes directly through you, and continues walking . . .
Jazz is a genre that thrived with innovation throughout the 20th century, and retreated from mainstream appeal near its end to exist on the fringes of music taste. Cue the 21st century and the widespread permeation of electronic instrumentation, which lends itself perfectly to jazz experimentalism, and the genre’s reborn. Elaenia is the newest full-length from Floating Points, helmed by UK producer, DJ, and musician Sam Shepard.
This is one of the most sonically dynamic records I’ve ever encountered. It spans the divide between sparse, whispered ethereality and colossal storms of intricately woven guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard, all dwelling within a dreamy, gorgeously atmospheric world. This is jazz improvisation, electronic composition, and progressive ambience coming together seamlessly to create something entirely new and captivating.
Much of this record is so quiet that one might question whether or not their listening device is defective. There are subtleties that only reveal themselves when one consciously blocks out all else and commits to a focused listening. Sam Shepard is a compelling artist, and his Floating Points project is evidence that electronics breed innovation. If you’re seeking ambient, electronic-influenced jazz, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)