Andy Warhol quite rightly warned us that in the future, everyone would be famous for 15 minutes, he neglected to tell us that other things would contract with the passing of time too.
Like ambient music tracks, for example. When the likes of the KLF and The Orb took the genre into the mainstream in the early and mid 90s, it’s probably fair to say brevity was not at the forefront of their frazzled, beautiful minds. Tracks like The Orb’s ‘Blue Room‘, while technically a single, barely fit onto two sides of 33rpm playing vinyl. Even the last track on the last album from Alex Paterson and co stretched to 20 minutes.
There are no such slow motion attitudes in evidence on the new album from the generation of ambient heroes’ hero Floating Points, however Some of the tracks here clock in under three minutes, and only one makes it beyond six., As a result, they prove the perfect chill out soundtrack for those of us with low attention spans.
Many of these stylish sketches are powered by the friction between natural musical textures and the sonic manipulation of DJ and computer music culture. Witness the gently levitational keyboards and strings of opening track ‘Falaise‘ gliding gracefully, only to be given the mixing desk, fader flipping treatment, dispatching it into psychedelic orbit. Or the very aptly named ‘Requiem for CS70 and Strings‘, with its meandering mixture of subtly distorted bleepery and swathes of pastoral, near-classical warmth.
Recent single ‘Karakul‘, meanwhile, veers even further into effects box trickery, offset by the likes of ‘Sea Watch‘, with its all out, straight up melodic reflection.
The album’s most hefty moment, in terms of beats anyway, is the recent single ‘Les Alpx‘, which still has its head in the clouds but its feet are rooted squarely on a dry ice-filled dancefloor sometime in the early hours. All four to the floor and dramatic Jeff Mills type stabs, it’s quite a thriller.
If you are tempted on the back of that to invest in the full length Crush outing, you might be surprised by the more serene contents contained within. Not that there aren’t beats on hand to propel the moods along, but they’re by means wall to wall. Rather than techno, too, the main rhythmic flavour when it does hit is closer to a leftfield version of UK garage’s skippy, spacious but lively percussive persuasion. If you liked Thom Yorke‘s latest solo offering you’ll know the kind of thing we mean.
But that’s no reason not to shell out and get yourself a copy of this dreamy but never lethargic offering. Unexpected and inventive, it’s well worth a trip into the unknown.
Crush is out now on Brainfeeder.