Album of the week: Late Night Tales – Floating Points

We’ve been completely enamoured with Floating Points since his 2014 LP, Elaenia and the live show that followed it. The records is still a regular favourite here, and when we saw the artist and band perform the LP at Øya a few years back, it remains one of the best shows we’ve ever experienced. In 2017 he consolidated the live experience and the recorded format for the live concept video LP, “Reflections” recorded live in the Mojave dessert. It had the critics divided, with them either singing its praises or confused by the conceptual thread underpinning the record, but none could avoid the record either way. Floating Points, the artist has made such an incredible impact on the landscape with records like Nuits Sonores / Nectarines elevated to the status of classics today,  that it is often hard to remember that Floating Points is also an incredible DJ.

While it might appear he’s trained most of his efforts on the recording/production aspects of his creative endeavours in recent years, he’s never stopped DJing – even after his memorable Øya performance, he took to Jaeger’s booth for a DJ set. He’s designed mixing consoles for Isonoe and is revered by his peers for his skills in the booth, which he applies with the same perfectionist touch that he utilises in the studio. His extensive musical taste covers everything from House to Jazz, selecting tracks that bask in their own obscurity, but somehow always sound contemporary and appropriate in whatever setting he might play out.

Lately he’s been travelling the breadth of the musical cosmos in mammoth all-day long sets that span up to eight hours long, but his critical appeal as a recording artist has still somewhat overshadowed his prowess as a DJ since Elaenia. Until now that is with his contribution to the Late Night Tales mix, and compilation series. Late Night Tales have been curating mixes from DJs like Bonobo, Lindstrøm and Four Tet as well as artists like The Flaming Lips, Arctic Monkeys and Belle & Sebastian, mixes that live beyond the club floor, for those early mornings, unwinding from a night on the tiles. Floating Points approaches the mix like a DJ but also like an artist, finding some harmonious bond between what he represents as a selector and the music he’s been making since Elaenia.

In its continuous form, Floating Points immerses the listener in luxurious organic textures and supple progressive pieces that border the musical landscapes between Jazz and Soul. Polyrhythmic percussive pieces from artists Max Roach and Alain Bellaïche sit beside sweet vocal pieces from the likes of The Defaulters and Bobby Wright, as the DJ bounces between introspective pieces testing the limits of the mix, before resolving again into something familiar or at least accessible, with elements like a human vocal or a surreptitiously strummed guitar, breaking down the listener’s defences. It’s a completely mesmeric mix where you find yourself just drifting along its entirety, as one sinuous thread pulls you along to the next. Floating Points has always been a great DJ, but in a mix like this, he really shows the depth of his extensive musical abilities. It’s not a mix you’ll admire for it’s transitions (although he’s flawless in that regard) but more for the way the DJ is able to establish a very defined mood and feeling through the music of others, one that is perfectly synchronised with the concept behind Late Night Tales.