Brian Batz is Sleep Party People and that is the musical universe in which he has been orbiting since 2008. Floating is the third album in what has since become a two year recording cycle. It is a record that heralds a marked departure from the previous two and the hitherto SPP signature sound of omnipresent electronics and vocoded “bunny-vocal” effects.
At the invitation of producers Mikael Johnston and Jeff Slatzman, Batz travelled to San Fransisco in February of last year to work on what would ultimately become Floating. Arriving there without any new songs written he then embarked upon a period of intense creative activity. Batz began sketching out new material and vacillating between Johnston and Slatzman’s studios utilising their extensive range of analog equipment – API and Neve mixing consoles and a welter of instruments from drums, guitars and analog synths to a theremin. Aside from some parts featuring Lisa Light on violin, bass and vocals and additional guitar from Johnston, Batz plays every single instrument on the record. And for more than three quarters of Floating, he sings in what is his natural voice
After four relentless non-stop weeks, Batz headed back to his native Denmark with his new album safely ensconced on his hard-drive. He then spent four more months mixing what would become the finished product. And what he has presented us with here are nine sumptuous songs that create the most beautifully warm, rich and organic of sounds, one that distils a range of influences from 80’s synth-pop to krautrock from Nick Cave to New Order to fellow Scandinavian Stina Nordenstam.
Similar in feel to Waiting For The Sirens Call period New Order and hanging in the air as if in suspended animation, ‘Floating Blood Of Mine’ is a gorgeous, effortless slice of joyfulness. Buoyed by similar synth-flourishes and hurried along by a babbling bass run, the ensuing ’A Stranger Among Us’ also slots very nicely into that so-good-to-be-alive category. The stark reality of ‘Death Is The Future’ is reflected in an instrumental conveyance that mixes the early 70’s psychedelia of Simon Dupree and the Big Sound with the sound of the Orient.
But it is not until Floating reaches the business end of its journey that it really starts to move into another dimension. ‘I See The Sun, Harold’ is an ambient piece of whimsy that lulls the listener into a sense of false security before the album rockets off into its glorious finale. ‘I See The Moon’ coordinates Sonic Youth’s ‘Sugar Kane’ with Yo La Tengo to quite magnificent effect. The record then pauses temporarily to catch breath with the beautiful piano-led ballad ‘Only A Shadow’ before hurtling towards its own dramatic, euphoric conclusion with the epic, dream-like odyssey that is ‘Scattered Glass’.
Brian Batz says that music is his life. On this evidence you can quite believe him as Floating is an all-consuming, all-embracing musical tour de force.
Floating is released on 2nd June 2014 via Blood and Biscuits