Late Night Tales: Floating Points - Floating Points (Album Review)
Updated: Apr 18, 2019
Late Night Tales: Floating Points
29 March 2019
Late Night Tales
Album Rating 4.5 / 5
Diversity in Songs 5 / 5
Favourite Songs Chains, Blood of an American, A Message Especially from God, Moments In Love
The latest collation album in the Late Night Tales series has electronica producer, DJ and musician Floating Points (Sam Shepherd) at the helm, and he creates this pre-dawn mix combining psychedelic, soul, ambient and jazz into a record that flows naturally into a stirringly contemplative and emotional collection of tracks.
The series has previously sported artists such as Fatboy Slim, Nightmares On Wax, Jamiroquai and Groove Armada amongst many others to create this ‘late night’ mood that for Floating Points, is somewhat similar to his own musical output. He explains his selection in the 'Behind The Records' video, but it's obvious in the mix he curates, the similarities in ominous, intense, prolonged build-ups are very evident in his choice of ambient tracks on the album.
The opening track, ‘Untitled, Live in Portland’ (one of three exclusive tracks), comes from psychoacoustic composer Sarah Davachi which initiates a state of relaxed concentration. Kara-Lis Coverdale’s composition ‘Moments In Love’ is lighter and more tranquil, whilst Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s ‘Milk’ emanates a minimalist fluidity that puts you in a peaceful state. An exclusive track from one of the free improvisational Onkyo leaders Toshimaru Nakamura, ‘Nimb#59’, drips higher-pitched tones that grow in dynamics. These tracks all bare particular resemblance to tunes in Floating Points releases Shadows, Nuits Sonores / Nectarines, Elaenia, Kuiper, and Reflections – Mojave Desert.
These feelings are also evoked through the sombre soul that dominates most of the album, starting with Brazilian Carlos Walker’s ‘Via Làctea’ that offers a folk-like psychedelic melody that moves easily into The Rationals poignant cover of Dr. John’s ‘Glowin’. William S. Fischer’s ‘Chains’ is a masterclass in constructing tension and apprehension which would not be out of place on a Floating Points record; the strings drop in and out to fashion a frighteningly gloomy space which, in the second half of the song, the drums fill in a spectacularly furious manner.
Floating Points includes one of his Melodies International reissues – known for releasing old, rare soul tracks – the anti-war song ‘Blood of an American’ by Bobby Wright which alongside Sweet & Innocent’s ‘Express Your Love’ and The Defaulters ‘Gentle Man’, sail through with an airy coolness as if you’re back in the 70s. Robert Vanderbilt and The Foundation of Souls psychedelic-acoustic wallower ‘A Message Especially from God’ equally compels chill-out vibes as they cover Manchild’s RnB-super-funk tune ‘Especially For You’.
The two Alain Bellaïche songs ‘Sun Blues’ and ‘Sea Fluorescent’ push the psychedelic-spiritual jazz atmosphere further, and British jazz trio Azimuth’s (not be confused with the Brazilian jazz trio Azymuth) ‘The Tunnel’ is a crossover tune combining the ambient feels and darker soul-psychedelia that exists on this album. The Kenny Wheeler cover ‘The Sweet Time Suite, Part 1’ by Floating Points serves as a perfect night time lullaby which showcases his keys skills that have entered his musical output more in recent releases.
The ending track is Emily Brontë’s ‘Ah! Why, Because the Dazzling Sun’ poem read by radio DJ and TV presenter Lauren Laverne, which sticks out sorely but thematically is strong with the Late Night Tales series so it would feel strange to not have the album end this way. The only other song that seems slightly out of place is the extremely relaxing jazz tune ‘Equipoise’ by drummer Max Roach, as the song seems slightly too bright. It’s not surprising that ‘Equipoise’ is found in his Spotify Turntable playlist, as the playlist gives a fantastic insight into the songs that influence Floating Points sets, with the Late Night Tales: Floating Points album acting as microcosm to that playlist itself.
Floating Points has designed the album so that the genres which exist in it are eclipsed to form the ‘late night mood’. He parades his obscure discoveries alongside gripping and evocative tracks that, in his own words, “set the tone when DJing all night long".