Floating Points spent years working on ‘Elaenia’, the producer’s famously fastidious debut album. Since then, though, he’s been working alacrity - whether that’s those inspiring live shows, or heading out to the desert for the lengthy electronic meditations on 2017’s ‘Reflections - Mojave Desert’ new ideas have been grasped, attacked, and absorbed.
All of which goes a long way to providing the backdrop of his inspiring, nuanced, colossal new album. ‘Crush’ resonates with rage, longing, fear, and expression, all these deeply physical emotions that start in the cut before exploding outwards. Opening with the taut orchestration of ‘Falaise’ is perhaps a misnomer, but it also places his work in a broader context - everything is feeling, but equally everything is deliberate.
Take the searing techno of ‘Last Bloom’ - the way the shattered notes intermingle, the way the metallic percussive ticks fuse towards something truly breathtaking in its size and scope. ‘LesAlpx’ is perhaps the most direct dance-floor moment on ‘Crush’, a piece truly begging to be heard out on a massive rig; it’s system music at its most physical, digital bedlam at its most coherent.
But this isn’t to say that ‘Crush’ is merely an immediate statement. Sam Shepherd has long been a potent cartographer of sound, melding together furiously distinct points of inspiration. ‘Requiem For CS70 And Strings’ is this analogue-digital eulogy, while ‘Birth’ revolves around that simple, Pointillist synth melody.
The two-part finale ‘Apoptose’ provides one of the most incisive platforms for what Floating Points is attempting to achieve. Part. g1 utilises those glacial melodies, while underneath fluttering percussive ticks reach footwork levels of precision. Pt. 2, meanwhile, extrapolates these entities in staggeringly different directions, the producer constantly pushing outwards to locate fresh space to explore.
‘Crush’ is a record that can encompass the most direct, physical impulses, and the most cerebral, moving from the analogue synth workout that is ‘Anasickmodular’ to the bubbling neo-classical ambience of ‘Sea-Watch’ while retaining some essential identity. Indeed, it’s the preservation of that identity which filters through each note on the album, continually referring back to the source, this incantation of persona which makes ‘Crush’ such an emphatically alluring experience. Truly, an album to savour.
Words: Robin Murray
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