Live Review: An Evening With Floating Points

flo po06 December 2014 © Photography by Khris Cowley for Here & Now

Barton Hill Trading Estate – an unassuming industrial unit on the outskirts of Bristol – became a magnet for music lovers on Saturday night, with dedicated crowds rolling in from all areas despite the drizzle and near freezing temperatures. A musical pilgrimage if ever there was one, there was no doubt that the first installment of ‘An Evening with…’ Floating Points (a.k.a Sam Shepard, DJ, producer and co-founder of Eglo) was guaranteed to be all about the music.

AEW promises to bring high profile headliners to one-off venues across Bristol city, and with Floating Points kicking off the series, Saturday’s partygoers were certainly not disappointed. It was only apt that this weekend’s venue was Bristol’s Factory Studios, an alchemic rehearsal joint where raw sounds morph regularly into music. For a venue not usually set up to cater for an all-nighter of this calibre, the AEW crew pulled of a fresh upscale house party vibe, where experience and attention-to-detail didn’t go unnoticed.

With energising support provided by by popular Bristol collective Soulworks, it wasn’t long before Floating Points took to the decks with his heavy bounce to kick things off properly. His scientific background became ever apparent as he seamlessly mixed tune after tune, navigating the crowd through a five-hour musical landscape spanning multiple continents. From obscure disco conjured on these very shores to baile funk dug from the depths of Brazil (undoubtedly discovered on his most recent visit), he continued to spin the room into motion with his skilful mastering of sound into pure creative expression.

The night gained momentum Floating Points gave Don Blackman’s ‘Never Miss A Thing’ an outing. The funk-laden tune was gratefully received with raised arms and jiving feet. From that point on, the only way was up. Flo Po’s set took off with a medley of disco and funk tracks taking pride of place for the next few hours. Intertwined with this was the signature Floating Points mixing style whereby he fades the bass, mids, tops and volume of specific tracks, using the isolators on the mixer for added precision. His blending of sound therefore seems almost textural. Special shouts to the tech team for ensuring A+ sound quality all night long.

Despite his special double-sided Nuits Sonores / Nectarines 12″ being officially released on 8th December, it was refreshingly clear from the outset that the last thing the night was meant to be was a promotional plug. Despite occasionally dropping the Flo Po sound that we all know and love, it was his unarguable musical showcase that prevailed, his eclectic journeying through a world of classical riffs, jazzy surges and deep electro-funk layers. It comes as no surprise that recent articles reveal Sam is also inventing his own FP rotary mixer in collaboration with audiophile masters, Isonoe. Watch this space as science meets music once more.

Upcoming: An Evening With Hessle Audio (Ben UFO x Pangaea x Pearson Sound), 31st January

Words by Tom Beldam and Georgina Bolton.

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