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Floating Points Blow Minds at The Bowery Ballroom

May 13th, 2016

Floating Points – The Bowery Ballroom – May 12, 2016

Floating Points – The Bowery Ballroom – May 12, 2016
Floating Points is the brainchild of Sam Shepherd, the Manchester, England, electronic musician with a Ph.D. in neuroscience and epigenetics. I guess contributing to just one emerging field wasn’t enough for him. Without knowing enough to say anything about his scientific output, his musical output is undoubtedly advancing electronic music into new areas, blowing up the formula in a similar way that free jazz disrupted the jazz formula. Shepherd brought along a whole band with him to perform for two sold-out New York City shows—last night at The Bowery Ballroom and tonight at Music Hall of Williamsburg.

It’s a demanding sound for a full band to play live: Shepherd’s big on throwing his music into warp speed until it practically dissolves into chaotic synthesized noise, before reining it back into its familiar beat. Some numbers went back and forth a few times, and when a song settled down, you were reminded of from where it evolved. It made for some heavy lifting for the drummer. At points during “Silhouettes (I, II, III),” the fill-heavy drumming sat somewhere between a long solo and a complex driving beat and went on for a long time, allowing Shepherd to hammer down on his synths in an all out bleep-bloop blitz.

Other songs featured impressive reverb-drenched guitar solos reminiscent of David Gilmour. Set against a backdrop of white lasers circling into geometric patterns, the spaced-out thoughts were inevitable as your mind was blown to bits, both visually and musically. Thankfully, there was a neuroscientist in the house to put everything back together again. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesosteinberg.com