Sam Shepherd hasn’t exactly been slacking off of late - touring, putting together a Late Night Tales instalment and running the Melodies International label sounds like more than enough for one person to be getting on with. However, apart from a cover of Kenny Wheeler’s ‘The Suite Time Suite Part 1 - Opening’ on the LNT volume, we’ve not had any new music from Sam Shepherd’s Floating Points project for a couple of years now. Great news, then, that the silence has been broken by new single ‘LesAlpx’.
‘LesAlpx’ is one of the most streamlined things to be released under the Floating Points banner for some time (a track that clocks in at under 5 minutes is short by Shepherd’s standards). He wastes no time here, getting straight to the groove after a few seconds of scene-setting bass. The garage skip of the beat harks back to Floating Points’ early days of - the most similar thing to ‘LesAlpx’ in the FP discography is most likely 2011’s ‘ARP3’.
Mind you, there’s an almost dystopian air to ‘LesAlpx’ that is an intriguing diversion for Shepherd. For a producer who’s so often dealt in the lush harmonies and clement tones of soul-jazz, these burbling synths and needling lead-lines are a lot more Blade Runner than we’d have expected. It works, though, turning a typically chunky bassline from euphoric to dark.
Punchy and arresting, ‘LesAlpx’ is a great return from Floating Points.