Floating Points, the experimental electronic musician, and Pharoah Sanders, the legendary saxophonist, combine on a hypnotic new album Promises, which also features The London Symphony Orchestra.
Pharoah Sanders and Sam Shepherd, better known as Floating Points, have concocted a real gem: a whirlwind of jazz, classical and electronic music. Although it is only one track, lasting 46 minutes, the spontaneity of this recording injects captivating authenticity into the record. An inhabited performance, one intercut with the space Floating Points leavies, inviting the listener to embark on a dream-filled journey. Sam Shepherd defines his collaboration with Pharoah Sanders as follows: “We’re both searchers. We’re always looking for music that can take us someplace higher.”
As for Pharoah Sanders, he commented: “People think I don’t talk much, but I try to speak through my music.” The great figure of American jazz also left remarks about his collaborator: “I think Sam is a great musician, and one of these geniuses just walking around on this earth. I love the way he plays, and I love the way he writes.” Sam Shepherd repaid the compliment: “There’s something about the saxophone, about the way it amplifies the player’s breathing that makes it feel like you’re inside their body. Listening to Pharoah play on this piece, it was like the instrument was an extension of his being, like it was a megaphone for his soul.”
Despite the health crisis, the London Symphony Orchestra was able to take part in the recording session which took place in George Martin’s mythical AIR studio during the summer of 2020. While respecting social distancing, the masked musicians used a hundred microphones to bring Floating Points’ arrangements to life. He defines this particular moment as follows: “The sound of that orchestra playing with so much space between them felt like this audible manifestation of the times we were living through. It was wide and distant and loose, and as soon as I heard them playing, it was like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle falling into place.”