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AU61: Floating Points breaking through piece

January 4, 2010

FLOATING POINTS

REAL NAME: Sam Shepherd
BASED: London
FOR FANS OF: Boxcutter, Joy Orbison, Mount Kimbie.
CHECK OUT: Vacuum EP, out now on Eglo.
WEBSITE: www.myspace.com/floatingpoints

Sam Shepherd is a restless soul. Originally from Manchester, the young producer has put out a series of platters this year on various labels, but we are still no nearer to discovering what Floating Points is really all about. His contribution to Mary Anne Hobbs’ recent Wild Angels compilation, ‘Esthian III’, was glitchy and fidgety, while a swinging 12” single on Planet Mu, ‘J&W Beat/K&G Beat’, placed him neatly among that label’s roster of dubstep and garage icons. However, his latest EP, Vacuum, is another matter entirely. Here, Shepherd tries his hand at deep house and disco, and comes up trumps. The lead track ‘Vacuum Boogie’ rides on a 4/4 rhythm and a deep, rolling bassline, but the genius is at the top of the mix, where fluttering synth lines swoop in and out of each other, under an all-enveloping haze.

All of this oscillating between styles is a perfectly natural consequence of Shepherd’s background and stupendously catholic tastes. He studied jazz piano and composition at music school, then almost ended up at the Royal College of Music before thinking better of it and doing a degree in pharmacology instead. Now, he’s working on a PhD and sees the music as “just a bit of fun”. Serious enough for him to perform live with a 12-piece ensemble, though. His Dublin appearance at the Twisted Pepper on December 5 is down as a DJ set, and if we know Sam Shepherd at all, you can be sure that it will be no hostage to genre.

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