In the aftermath of a recent gig in San Francisco, Sam Shepherd recounts how one fan approached him to offer him a gift: a philosophy book by David Eagleman titled Sum: Tales from the Afterlife. The work delves into thoughts on the afterlife and the potential for atomic reincarnation, and was written by one of America’s leading thinkers in the field of neuroscience. This might seem a peculiar gift for a 24-year-old electro musician who regularly deejayed at London’s Plastic People and recently played a six-hour set at Berlin techno institution Berghai; instead it is easy to picture Shepherd, known to his fans as Floating Points, indulging in such a text—surrounded by his estimated 10,000 records—after a set at one of the world’s biggest party havens.
Born in Manchester, Floating Points eventually gravitated towards London where he would study for a PhD in Neuroscience but which would ultimately put him at the heart of the British electronic revival. Sharing a love of obscure records and eclectic musical taste with his acolytes Four Tet and Caribou, Floating Points deejayed regularly around London and Europe with his friends before producing one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2015. Taking its title from a metaphorical dream in which a stray migratory bird is absorbed into a forest, Elaenia has been widely praised for its fusion of musical genres—ranging from jazz and rock to classic and electronic dance—into a complex, rich musical whole. The epitome of musical improvisation, the album somehow manages to juxtapose soft, ambient melodies with dance floor fillers to provide something between a musical meditative experience and an educational musical odyssey for its listener.
This July, Floating Points will play against the untainted utopian backdrop of Croatia’s Obonjan Island for the first time. Joined at the festival by musical soulmate Four Tet, music fans can expect an intelligent, rich musical experience from one of the UK’s finest songwriters who is helping shape the future of British electronic music.
Words by Liam Roberts. Image property of Santana Photo