Music For the Sole - Floating Points - Reflections-Mojave Desert
Classically trained electronic producer, DJ, and qualified neuroscientist Floating Points isn't your regular musician. After a stellar body of production and remixes for big name artists (Four Tet, Sebastian Tellier and Bonobo to name a few), Floating Points has evolved his sound of late in to an ensemble big band, capable of large cinematic tos and fros, with movements that would impress that of Alice Coltrane or Mozart. 2015 saw Floating Points release his debut album, Elaenia, to mass critical acclaim. Luckily, we've been blessed with another mini epic in the form of Reflections - Mojave Desert.
Structurally, Reflections... plays out similar to his previous release. Rather than the format of an album, the songs work together to craft a singular entity, with each track splitting the album in to movements. Replacing string sections usually heard on classical works, the major instruments at play are the super tight rhythm section, fading in to play to bring the pace up, and Floating Points array of synths and keys to bring melody to the ambience. A new, prominent feature in the band is the edition of the lead guitar, bringing a progressive sound akin to that of Dark Side of the Moon Floyd, yet still retaining the classic electronic sensibilities that Floating Points has patented over many years.
The record is highlighted by epics 'Sillurian Blue' and 'Kelso Dunes', weighing in at 7:01 & 12:48 respectively. The former builds on the ambience of the intro, 'Mojave Desert', to provide a muted piano lead track, building slowly with the edition of multiple stringed instruments, and Floating Points trademarked Miami Vice esque synths. Multiple crescendos and dynamic changes highlight this track, with it's epic ending serving as only a taster for what is to feature later in the record. The latter, Kelso Dunes, continues on the synth work displayed on middle track 'Kites. Rumbling basslines match the frantic drums that slowly raise the dynamics louder and louder and suddenly fading back down to quiet murmur till eventually we're brought to a noisy crescendo, and at that the album slowly fades out in to closing track 'Lucerne Valley', an ambient piece that meanders till it's a eventual close.
As the landscape of electronic music becomes broader and broader with technological advances, it's refreshing to see an artist craft his version of classical music with a majority of analog instruments. If you get a chance to see the ensemble live, I implore you to do so.