Album Of The Week: Floating Points

Meet your new favourite musical boffin

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There’s Dan Snaith, aka Caribou, who has a PhD in maths; there’s Dr Brian Cox and his flirtation with New-Labour-promoting dance-pop; and there’s Brian May who finally finished his PhD in astrophysics in 2007, a mere 30-odd years after he started it (the small matter of Queen got in the way). Really, who doesn’t love a musical brainbox?

Now we have one more, Sam Shepherd, aka Floating Points, a highly respected musician/inventor/DJ releasing his debut album this month, while also working on his neuroscience doctorate. And you thought you were clever for putting your trousers on the right way round this morning.

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Elaenia (named for a bird in the tyrant flycatcher family), is as probing and exciting a record as you’d hope for from the Manchester-born Shepherd. It draws on his background as a student of classical music and jazz and as a devotee of obscure synthesisers, yet it sacrifices nothing by way of listenability (that’s a word, right?).

There are feathery breakbeats, gentle Brazilian jazz-funk, and cavernous, string-rich sonic soundscapes (it had to be said). Truly, Elaenia is a record that will expand your mind as it lifts your spirits.

Elaenia (Pluto) is out now

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