Floating Points Promises

Luaka Bop
18th January 2022

Format Info

2LP - 180g Black Vinyl
2LP - Blue Vinyl

Floating Points‘ collaboration with Jazz legend Pharoah Sanders really broke through both the jazz and electronic music ceilings, creating probably the “experimental music” moment of the year. And for good reason. Promises harkened back to the spiritual jazz Sanders helped shape back in the mid 60s, cloaked it in some Alice Coltrane-esque keys and harp and then blew the whole thing out across the universe. The injection of space and sympathetic orchestral arrangements courtesy of the London Symphony Orchestra meant that the tonalities Sanders has been perfecting for 60 years got re-contextualised and introduced to new generations.

Crucially, the music isn’t “difficult” like some of Sanders’ most fire recordings and not as electronically smooth as a lot of Floating Points’ work. Rather, a perfect equilibrium was struck on this album. Sam Shepherd’s editorial ear and curatorial brain meant that the finished work was somewhere between contemplation and meditation. Well tempered and quietly moving, Promises promises to be an evergreen solace for the soul.


Sam Shepherd (Floating Points): Pharoah…

Pharoah Sanders: Huh…?

Sam: Were you asleep? I’m sorry…

Pharoah: No no… I was listening… and dreaming… and listening to music in my head…

Sam: Oh wow… sorry.

Pharoah: Many times, people think I might be asleep… but in fact, I am just listening to music in my head. I’m always listening… to the sounds around me… and playing, in my mind… and sometimes I dream.

Sam: What were you dreaming about?

Pharoah: I’m on a ship. In the ocean. Bears coming around smoking cigars. The bears are singing, ‘We have the music. We have what you’re looking for.’ I say, ‘Really?’ And I was making fish dinners. Shark..Lobster. Got all kinds of fish. And you know, a good pie. Pumpkin pie. You like pumpkin pie?

Pharoah: How you like that take, Sam?

Sam: It’s cool. I think the bit in the middle, where it stops again…I think you can hear…We were both kind of confused. I like it as well because it sounds like two musicians that are trying to guide each other.

Pharoah: I think that’s it right there. It came out different. It came out good though.

Sam: You happy?

Pharoah: Yeah, I’m cool with it.

Sam: Okay. Yeah, I think your playing is beautiful.

“Electronic Music’s King…” – NY Times

“There’s an attention to detail at work that’s practically unrivaled in electronic music.” – Pitchfork (Best New Album – Cruch)

“The best tenor player in the world.” – Ornette Coleman

“Few musicians have said more than the saxophonist Pharoah Sanders.” – The New Yorker

“The album is extraordinarily beautiful, mesmerizing and spatially haunting. Listening to it is a profound experience.” – Julie Mehretu

“Best thing I’ve ever done.” – Sam Shepherd (Floating Points)

Other Releases by Floating Points