Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & the London Symphony Orchestra: Promises
Promises consists of one uncut, sweeping 46-minute track divided into nine movements. Because there aren’t any distinctions between those sections, you can, if you so choose, scoot ahead to any random spot, hit the play button and see what you get. Depending on where you land, you may hear the pastoral sound of a lone, barely there piano, ethereal orchestration, wispy electronics, or—the best part—the spellbinding saxophone tones of Pharoah Sanders. The 80-yearold Sanders remains a treasure, a progenitor of the so-called “spiritual jazz” movement, for good reason; his blowing is inherently enriching, a sound that not only stimulates the brain waves but moves the soul. Surrendering to the music that emanates from Pharoah Sanders’ heart and lips is to entrust one’s entirety to his whims: The body embraces what his saxophone says; the mind willingly takes his journey. Floating Points, a.k.a. Sam Shepherd, is of another world: the young, British producer and DJ uses electronic devices to paint his visions. He has previously worked with a 16-piece ensemble but, here, he goes all out, enlisting the full orchestral arsenal. The unbroken suite darts around with abandon: There’s relaxation one minute, and fierce chaos the next; exotic trips within and far from our planetary boundaries; music that demands full attention and some that pushes back. Promises can be listened to casually; in the right circumstance, it would serve well somewhere off in the background, not nudging you in the ribs to listen. But really, it’s best as night music, played through headphones when all of life’s other distractions are turned off and forgotten. Then its dreamscapes, and its promises, become your own.