By: Christopher Gironda
Brief clip of Myrtle Avenue off “Shadows”
Bangin’ Electro Boogie House Tune - Love Me Like This
Descending the narrow staircase into Plastic People (http://www.plasticpeople.co.uk), longtime suppliers of underground UK electronic music, expectations of the evening were still undetermined. The entrance to the venue was only identifiable by a small sign and winding line which stretched down Curtain Road in the bustling area of Shoreditch. Upon arriving at the base of the stairs, the seductive sounds of deep house could be heard reverberating throughout the club. I rounded the corner, stepping into a dark and ominous room to be greeted with the aroma of burning incense. Move D (http://soundcloud.com/move-d) was on the decks, tucked away in a red-lit booth spinning straight vinyl.
Shortly thereafter, Sam Shephard—more commonly known as Floating Points (http://soundcloud.com/floatingpoints) took control, and sent the place into a dance floor frenzy, migrating flawlessly between soulful tech house and straight disco. In addition to producing electronica, Shephard is the co-founder of UK-based Eglo Records (http://eglorecords.com) along with Alexander Nut (http://eglorecords.com/author/alexnut). I had a chance to briefly chat with the aspiring 25 year old producer, while he was taking a break from the turntables (Move D and Shephard were rotating on and off the entire night). Sporting a Montreux Jazz Festival shirt, Shephard commented on his latest release, Shadows, claiming that it “seemed to have missed the charts but is still selling.” It is available on two 12” vinyls through Eglo Records.
Floating Points’ genre-defying musical artistry represents the newer wave of electronica on the rise in the UK, one which pursues music with a sense of warmth and soul, rather than glitch and wobble. Floating Points’ earlier releases are notably more dance-oriented tunes with a four-on-the-floor house kick and melodic disco-style boogie. However, with his November 2011 release, Shadows, Shephard has made a clear rediscovery of his classical roots.
A classically trained musician, Floating Points’ Shadows breaks free of the untz with a deep breath of ambience and jazz, utilizing more spacious atmospheres, unique rhythmic patterns and live instrumentation in his seventh official release. But that’s not to say Shadows has completely lost touch with electronica; two tracks, “Sais” and “Obfuse,” revitalize 2-step and a garage feel, a style which has lately been overshadowed by the bass-heavy dubstep phenomena. “ARP3,” the fourth track on this release, maintains Floating Point’s earlier house vibe, layering Rhodes and synths over a pulsating bass kick. The most noteworthy track on this release is easily “Myrtle Avenue,” a ten-minute symphonic journey through varying styles and vibes stitched together with precision and delicacy (a clip from the latter half of this song can be heard below). Shephard mentioned his pride in “Myrtle Avenue,” as well as the extensive time and work he put into this beautiful tune. “Myrtle Avenue” was one of the only originals Shephard played all night. He said he enjoys making music for people to listen to, rather than simply dance and party. Shephard’s performance at Plastic People resembled more of a house and disco dance set, instead of a showcase of his original compositions for the obvious reason of this being a club night.
In our conversation, Shephard did not make the discussion all about him, he promoted Swedish vocalist Fatima (http://eglorecords.com/author/fatima), a female singer on Eglo who has collaborations which range from Dam Funk to Teebs. Shephard jokingly claimed she will be “bigger than Chaka Kahn.” Keep an eye and ear out for this upcoming young artist and check out her latest release, Follow You, which came out on Eglo this past May.
Keep watch for Floating Points at Plastic People, as he is resident DJ and be sure to check out his latest release on Eglo Records, Shadows, as well as his older yet still worthwhile records such as Vacuum EP and Love Me Like This. Eglo Records also puts out releases by label boss, Alexander Nut, whose styles range from hip hop to dubstep and everything in between, be ready for upcoming releases.
FP mix for Mary Anne Hobbs @ BBC Radio 1
Floating Points Ensemble BBC Maida Vale Sessions Clip
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