It was the arrival of a Studer A80 master recorder at the front door of Sam Shepherd – otherwise known as Floating Points – that caused him to begin building the studio that led to the creation of his debut album, Elaenia (due out via Pluto in the UK and Luaka Bop in the US on 6 November). After a slight miscalculation meant that he could not physically get the thing inside his home, what happened next can only be described as a beautiful example of the butterfly effect. Breaking away from making electronic music on his laptop, the DJ, producer and composer spent the next five years engineering Elaenia, all the while deejaying in cities across the globe and working towards his PhD in neuroscience. An incredibly special album that draws inspiration from classical, jazz, electronic music, soul and even Brazilian popular music, Elaenia – named after the bird of the same name – is the epitome of the forward-thinking Floating Points vision in 2015.
From an early age, Shepherd’s mind has always been musically inclined. As a chorister at Manchester Cathedral, he developed his musicianship through performing up to six services a week whilst at the same time studying piano and composition at Chetham’s School of Music. There, he undertook lessons which not only improved his technical knowledge but developed his love of electronic and jazz music too. “That time was crazy – I was listening to Bill Evans and Morton Subotnick, Kenny Wheeler and Toru Takemitsu amongst many others all on the same day,” Shepherd recalls. “These inspirations have stuck with me all the way through to making this record.”