In the same ilk as other renowned DJs like Four Tet, Bonobo, Jon Hopkins and Sasha, the latest contributor to the ongoing Late Night Tales compilation series is Sam Shepherd, better known by his stage name of Floating Points.
Shepherd is one of electronic music’s heavyweights, signified by a spectacular performance at Dekmantel in 2018, but he now departs from the familiar territory of dance music to put together something of a more eclectic nature. For DJs like Shepherd, Late Night Tales provides a chance to showcase the rare cuts of their record collections and tailor a mix more to help the listener unwind and relax rather than to get their feet moving on the dancefloor; Shepherd relishes this opportunity with his selection of songs, deftly weaving jazz, soul and ambient together into one sonorous whole.
The spacious, droning first track of Shepherd’s mix, Sarah Davachi’s ‘Untitled, Live in Portland’, seeks to detach you from reality before plunging into some lesser-known jazz cuts and even a classic rock turn with The Rationals’ ‘Glowin.’ Softly plucked guitar melodies and coloured chord progressions characterise the proceeding handful of songs, all of which stand out but are layered seamlessly in Shepherd’s mix.
An emotional peak arrives around Alain Bellaïche’s second song in Shepherd’s tracklist; the meandering jazz bassline of ‘Sea Fluorescent’ spirals into Kara-Lis Coverdale’s ‘Moments in Love,’ a point of stasis which pares back Shepherd’s deep digs to a sparse, ambient piano piece, and here the calming effect of the compilation really sets in.
From here, Shepherd moves into the territory of spaced-out, structureless sound, piecing together lush ambience and elegant synth padding in tracks by Azimuth, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Nimb#59. If you haven’t fallen asleep by this point in the mix then you should do soon, particularly after Shepherd’s own track, the lullaby-like ‘The Sweet Time Suite, Part I.’
Lauren Laverne’s spoken reading of Emily Brontë’s poem, ‘Ah! Why, Because the Dazzling Sun,’ concludes this mellow and beautiful collection of music with a fitting lamentation of the end of the night.
Image: Jwslubbock via Wikimedia Commons