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Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders + The London Symphony Orchestra - Promises

Released: March 2021

Label: Luaka Bop

Floating Points is a name that I knew, all my musical friends seemed to be into him. I came to truly discover him this evening, upon listening to his latest release 'Promises' with The London Symphony Orchestra and Pharoah Sanders. It is a blend of loosely repetitive Minimalism, Orchestra and Jazz improvisation.

Floating Points has composed a continuous piece of ambience that uses the same theme in 9 movements. 5 years in the making, it has proven itself worthy of being in part performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Improvised over by legendary Jazz Tenor Saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, it allows us for the first time in so long to hear authentic new wisdoms from a pioneer of a pivotal moment in music thought long past.

80 year old Pharoah Sanders is counted amongst some of the greatest composers of the 20th century. Nurtured by Sun Ra, he went on to collaborate with and alter the course of John Coltrane and Lonnie Liston Smith. Pioneer saxophonist Ornette Coleman stated that he was ‘...probably the best Tenor player in the world’ an accolade which still stands today. It is truly an honour to have him grace us on this new landmark of the Ambient/Free/Spiritual Jazz genres.

The absolute purity achieved by Floating Points cannot be underestimated. It may be so sincere that we could liken it to Philip Glass’ masterful Koyaanisquatsi soundtrack, an accolade I have not given without considerable thought. The sounds he has chosen are reminiscent of a feather made of pins drawn across a piano’s strings. His composition choices are so artistic that the London Symphony Orchestra had no reservations in attaching themselves to and adeptly performing parts of the project, heard in excelsis in Movement 6.

It is almost impossible to think of when such a work was more necessary for the moment. At times challenging and at times perfection,‘Promises’ journeys to new lands by combining musicians and composers who have truly experienced the ultimate heights in musical expression. I am at once thrilled and humbled by the project and the artists involved. Free Jazz, Ambient and Classical by their very nature force us to experience trying moments, but it is the sculpting of the rock necessary to create the masterpiece.


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