2016 has been a good year for the genre shifts of electronica and jazz. The latest arrival to the party is this EP by Floating Points. AKA Sam Shepard, musician and neuroscientist.
He’s been getting the nod from the likes of Giles Peterson and today it’s KindOfJazz’s chance to turn our thumbs aloft. Working with a battery of vintage analog synths and a well drilled live band he has made one of the best new things we've heard this year.
The eighteen-and-a-half minute title track is a heady cocktail of tempo, mood and progression. Its first movement is a spooky sci fi screensaver. Deep, eerie effects coexist with slow motion percussion that bring a rising sparkle to the terrain. The pace is accelerated with fugue like grace until live drums usher in a sun bust of colliding synths. The grand pas is a six minutes of so of indelible guitar that would not be out of place on 1960s Quincy Jones soundtrack.
Mammish Part 111 to these ears has the DNA of Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi era about it, but with a very different mojo. A meditative but not somnolent glacial rhodes groove punctuated by tubular bells like motif does not linger too long even, with its fourteen minute length. Both recordings have a kinetic live feel and none of the chilly resonances associated with the scene.
It is a vinyl-only release but a download card is included. Whether this is strictly jazz is a debate for another day. The worlds of electro, jazz and house, and so on, are becoming ever more blurred and like Quincy Jones said, "I don’t listen to categories, I listen to music." I am who he quotes.