sat 17/04/2021

Album: Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and The London Symphony Orchestra – Promises | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and The London Symphony Orchestra – Promises

Album: Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and The London Symphony Orchestra – Promises

46 minutes and 37 seconds of electronic, jazz and classical spiritual transcendence

Emotionally extraordinary

My first (conscious) encounter with the music of American jazz saxophone legend Pharoah Sanders was 1970’s “Let Us Go into the House of the Lord”, a nearly 18-minute piece which, right until the end, sounds like it’s only just forming through an explosion of light and layers of sound. Promises has a similar effect – an ever-unfolding spiritual journey, marked by repetition, build-ups and climaxes.

My first (conscious) encounter with the music of American jazz saxophone legend Pharoah Sanders was 1970’s “Let Us Go into the House of the Lord”, a nearly 18-minute piece which, right until the end, sounds like it’s only just forming through an explosion of light and layers of sound. Promises has a similar effect – an ever-unfolding spiritual journey, marked by repetition, build-ups and climaxes.

Indeed, what brings together Sanders and the lead musical figure in this collaboration – Sam Shepherd, or Floating Points – is their shared dedication to exploring the spiritual qualities of music that does not conform to genre restrictions or fixed form. Both Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders present music in a liquid state where everything seems possible. Promises is a musical space for play and contemplation, where the attention to detail, stimulated by the repetitive leitmotif, makes the moments of variation and improvisation emotionally extraordinary. This depth of sound is achieved through excellent production, Floating Point’s smart composition, the distinct style of Sanders and the strings of the London Symphony Orchestra.

Floating Points, originally from Manchester, previously attracted attention with his critically acclaimed 2015 debut Elaenia, followed by Crush in 2019. Jazz and electronica come together in Floating Points’ imaginative and innovative records, blending his identities of DJ and Doctor of Neuroscience and Epigenetics. The music is a search for the formula of melancholy, beauty and meaning. Yet, until Promises, Floating Points’ albums have been track-based.

This new record presents nearly 47 minutes of continuous music, organised in nine movements for signposting purposes. This is a big step in Floating Points's growth, consolidated by the collaboration with Sanders and the London Symphony Orchestra. Promises was five years in the making and deserves a listen, but only for those that can allow themselves the time to be fully immersed in it.

Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders present music in a liquid state where everything seems possible

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