There are few artists in the modern electronic music landscape who have found their way into being so universally loved like Floating Points. He quickly became a darling of critics, plus house and techno heads earlier this decade and cemented that legacy for a broader following with Elaenia. Four years on from that album, Sam Shepherd has released his sophomore LP Crush.
Crush is an album that is distinctly Floating Points and calls on British dance music history. It bridges the 90’s rave era with modern-sounding experimental electronic music and a hint at Aphex Twin’s more melodic works. Much of the album is grounded in breakbeat, jungle and even some footwork beats. However there is so much more to it.
We ease into the album with “Falaise” that eventually gives into some of Shepherd’s more eclectic tendencies with high-pitched strings and flute that feel like some dramatic scene in an old film.
“Last Bloom” keeps the eclectic melodies swirling before some soft and subtle breakbeats on “Anasickmodular” that sound like they get stuck in a conveyer belt along the way.
Shepherd doesn’t go into some of the jazzy elements we heard on Elaenia, but he found other ways to break free from four on the floor and keep it interesting. The interlude-like track “Karakul” embraces that spirit, sounding like a very ominous dial up connection.
There is a sense of urgency on this LP that evokes both pain and euphoria. That pain is felt on the track “Environments,” channeling the effects of human’s unyielding destruction of the environment. The track starts like an eerie wind in the forest, but it then evolves into frenetic barrage of drums overpowering a whimsical melody that evokes a world destroying itself and tearing apart. The mood changes slightly with the soft, piano led “Birth” and “Sea-Watch,” before he gets back into the agile double finale with some footwork and juke on “Apoptose Pt. 1 and Pt. 2."
The album took five weeks to record and that sense of cohesion is obvious. There feels like a singular mindset that helped create this album with urgency and pain, but also a sense of hope sprinkled on top. Crush finds Floating Points navigating waters both familiar and new for a journey that rises euphorically up to the Alps and then dives deep into a ravine to explore environmental destruction.