For the most part in Luaka Bop’s history we release music from artists who are relatively unknown or forgotten. That’s a lot of fun you know, taking a Tom Ze or William Onyeabor or Shuggie Otis – or, like now, a Doug Hream Blunt – and working to get people as excited about their music as we are. But, for the first time, we are also releasing an album by someone who has already had success and respect, though has never before released a full album. His name is Sam Shepherd and he goes by the name Floating Points. Sam’s record ‘Elaenia’ is one of the most beautiful, and, surprising albums we have heard and simply, just so different.
Sam was born in Manchester, England and started out from taking lessons in classical composition and jazz. As he tells us:
“I forcibly had piano lessons since I was eight – hated it. I joined Manchester Cathedral Choir as a choirboy, and as a result got into Cheethams School of Music across the road, where I studied jazz piano and composition. The composition teacher let me use the old analogue studio as much as I liked, ’cause they just got a fancy digital studio, which they’re probably still trying to figure out! This meant I’d spend endless time trying to get an MS20 to stay in tune, making tape loops with the reel to reel, getting arthritic on the S-90 and electrocuting myself on the patch bay. This plus jazz plus choral music and Manchester record shops moulded me into a mess of love for so many sounds…”
Today, we are also sharing Floating Points’ new video “Silhouettes,” with music from the eleven-minute album track “Silhouettes (I, II & III)”, filmed on location in Rio Tinto – a corner of the Spanish and Portuguese border deemed the closest thing to Mars on Earth – as well as in a Barcelona studio over a period of six months.
Tomorrow (Wednesday, July 26th), Floating Points will debut the live version of ‘Silhouettes (I, II & III)’ together with an 11-piece ensemble (!!) at the magnificent Fort Christo Punto, at Dimensions Festival, in Croatia. The show will be streamed live around the world from 2.30pm EST, via Boiler Room.
Floating Points has worked for the last five years on composing and recording ‘Eleania’. We think its incredible, and hope you will find that, too. ‘Elaenia’ will be available on Luaka Bop on November 6, in North & South America (if you live elsewehere, you can find it on Pluto). You can pre-order Elaenia via this store and receive ‘Silhouettes (I, II & III)’ instantly (the first 200 orders also get a print of the album artwork created by the harmonograph Sam built himself!).
Last week we did what was perhaps our biggest, and most diverse, version of the live concert in tribute to William Onyeabor, called “Atomic Bomb! Who is William Onyeabor?”. In addition to the 20+ incredible musicians (David Byrne! Amadou & Mariam! Alexis Taylor & Sarah Jones of Hot Chip! Moses Sumney! Sinkane! Money Mark! Mahotella Queens!) that took part in this, we had Southbank’s 160 person Voicelab Choir came out as a surprise during the encore. The show was lots of fun and it seems like “the press” thought so too…Both The Independent and The Telegraph gave gave it five stars, calling it “a magical performance” and “the biggest explosions of positivity since the Millennium fireworks.” We worked super hard on this so it feels really fun that people had a good time together 🙂
We hope to share some videos from the night soon, but in the meantime you can check out some of these lovely photos that we posted on William Onyeabor’s facebook page. The photos were taken by Victor Frankowski.
We are very happy to announce the release of “My Name Is Doug Hream Blunt, Featuring The Hit “Gentle Persuasion””, coming on Luaka Bop on October 16, 2015. Doug learnt to play music at the age of 35, by taking an adult class in the late 1980s. The class was organized by a high school music teacher and his wife, and held in their small garage in the Golden Gate Park neighborhood of San Francisco. The other students of the class became Doug’s band members, while his teacher joined on vibes, and his wife on bass. To promote his music, Doug would play acoustic, solo shows for patients and elderly people at a hospital where he worked as a nurse’s aid. On a few occasions, he also brought the other students together to play on the City Visions Public Access television show. It looked like this…”