Known on dancefloors and tastefully progressive U.K. radio programs as Floating Points, producer and DJ Sam Shepherd applied his love for gritty funk, slick R&B, and avant-garde jazz to house, techno, and orchestral compositions that tended to be equally stimulating through club sound systems and headphones.
Shepherd launched the project in 2008 by releasing some white-label singles plus a bootleg remix of Sun Ra's "I'll Wait for You." BBC DJ Gilles Peterson picked up on both and featured the two tracks on his Worldwide radio program. Even though Shepherd was finishing his Ph.D. in neuroscience, he found time in 2009 to partner with Rinse FM left-field DJ Alexander Nut and form Eglo, a label that became revered for releases from the likes of FunkinEven and frequent Shepherd collaborator Fatima. Among Shepherd's own early highlights for the label were cuts like "Vacuum Boogie" and "Peoples Potential."
The producer's output became increasingly spacious and musical, as heard in the progression traced through cuts such as "Sais," "King Bromeliad," and "Nuits Sonores." Additionally, Shepherd led the 16-member Floating Points Ensemble for a Ninja Tune single and BBC Maida Vale session that bridged 4hero's chamber soul and the work of contemporary West Coast arranger/composer Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. In 2015, after over a dozen releases and roughly as many remixes, Shepherd released the debut Floating Points album, Elaenia, through his Pluto label in the U.K. and David Byrne's Luaka Bop in the U.S. It was celebrated by almost every outlet that covered it, including Resident Advisor, whose staff declared the album the best of the year. In 2016, after Katy B's Honey sported a track produced by Shepherd and Kieran Hebden, Floating Points returned with Kuiper, an expansive two-track EP. That August, just prior to a U.S. tour, Shepherd and his band rehearsed, recorded, and were filmed in the Mojave Desert. The visit was documented with Reflections: Mojave Desert, a heavier affair released the following June. ~ David Jeffries & Andy Kellman, Rovi