Floating Points - Shadows EP A huge hit for me. KA classifies it as minimal techno, and I'm willing to take his word on it, although I've never heard it done quite like this--but I'm inexperienced on this front. It's certainly not extravagent, with its share of 808 solos and unfiltered sawtooth lines, but it's not the primitive, 8 minute loopfests that defy you to keep listening without getting bored. It's subtle, but it's not boring. Detail and minute transition is key here, and whether intentional or not, Floating Points really knows how to bring in exactly what's necessary to keep you interested or set the mood. There are buildups and breakdowns, but I can count them on one hand. Even when they happen, they can be nonstandard: track 4's buildup actually kills the main synth, defying your expectations. Most of the time it's knob twiddling, but the good kind: effective enough to be noticeable, but smooth and not in-your-face. I brought up intentionality because I suspect some of it is a jam. It has a somewhat raw, quickly cut feeling (I'll get to the production later), and there's a few timing and twiddling errors. The synth line from track 2 bleeds into track 3 and stays until the end, like he didn't bother muting it. Who knows, maybe it's all sequenced and he just doesn't stress over getting values to sync up with bar lengths like most artists. Point is, it's dynamic and off-kilter enough to at least sound like a live set. Oh yes, dynamics! What happened to thee? Yeah, you're going to have to turn this one up. Completely uncompressed. Remember those days? The pre-2000's? When there were loud parts of music? Alone, probably half the reason I love this ep. Lends to the "live" feel, like he didn't bother with post production. As far as I can tell, no multiband compression or stereo imaging, and certainly no high freq attentuation (get ready for track 5, you've been warned). Attention artists: do this, it makes your music a million times better. Thematically, it's blues and introvert techno. Tracks 1 and 5 have their fair share of Rhodes and freeform stabs, which I think every genre can benefit from. Bass is light (relative to this day and age), never overwhelming, and in some cases irrelevant when it matches the main synth line. The only track where it becomes central is 5. Track 1's bass starts out syncopated, almost off-time, but this is a bold statement: it doesn't care. You're here to enjoy some blues, damnit. Tracks 3-4 are more standard 4/4 club droners, earning the "minimal" title well enough. Track 2 could be as well, but for its hip-hop...ish beat. Track 3 is dispensable. I like 808 dickery as much as the next guy, but a solo 4/4 beat makes me skip it. Track 5, Sais, is of course the stand out that everyone will remember. The bass tempts you with its pseudo-wub. Really, this is the only aggressor in the album. Worth the price of admission, but I think track 1 does the blues/jazz thing better. Still, the last quarter of Sais is amazing, so much so that I want to completely rip it off in my own stuff. Summary: Not quite genre-defining, but damn is it good and fun. Unpretentious, easy on the ears, minimally (hah :l) derivative, wholesome electronic music. It's too bad I can't get into this guy's other stuff.