A sparkling, unclassifiable blend of jazzy exploration and techno tradition

Londoner Sam Shepherd’s first full-length as Floating Points, Elaenia, is a sparkling, unclassifiable blend of techno traditions, jazz abstractions, post-rock, and other cosmic persuasions. With its vintage synthesizers, live drums, orchestral passages, and winding, improvisatory song structures, the album feels less like an outgrowth of contemporary dance music than the work of someone like Herbie Hancock, whose retro-futurisitc explorations broke ground in part by defying categorization. It’s all anchored by the gorgeous, 11-minute “Silhouettes (I, II and III),” which imagines '70s Miles Davis had he steered toward the light instead of dark.

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