London-based composer, electronic musician and producer Sam Shepherd AKA Floating Points hit Edinburgh Park as part of Edinburgh International Festival contemporary music programme, invigorating a crowd of people starved of live music for so long. An energetically visual set, Shepherd pushed the audience through a variety of energies that immersed the audience; personally that connection through music of being at a live gig felt real and overwhelmingly brilliant, and needed after not being at an electronic gig for so long.

Sam Shepherd began Floating Points in 2008, playing out early white-label singles in clubs like Plastic People and Fabric. Emerging from the UK bass scene, he formed Eglo Records in 2009. Shepherd released his breakout, esteemed debut Elaenia in 2015 on his subsequent label Pluto Records. He composed and recorded the album, which bridged the gap between?rapturous dance music and his formative classical and jazz roots. In 2017 Shepherd put out Reflections – Mojave Desert, a short film and accompanying soundtrack performed by the ambient yet anthemic Floating Points band, and Ratio, an epic track bordering on 19 minutes that harks back to his earlier dance floor focussed releases. This was followed up in 2019 with the equally lauded Crush. Promises, Floating Points’ latest album, which was only released earlier this year, is a continuous 46-minute-piece composed by Shepherd and featuring Pharoah Sanders and the London Symphony Orchestra. Therefore, there was much for us to anticipate from this EIF gg.

Floating Points’ live sets brought together the many sides of Shepherd, resulting in an epic live show full of immediate, spontaneous and was a brilliant welcome back to live music, particularly from the electronic scene. Within an outdoor venue that is on the cusp of Edinburgh, near the Gyle Centre, that has been specifically built for the purpose of EIF this year during the time of a pandemic, Floating Points created somewhat of a festival warehouse vibe with people mostly sat in clusters of seats, who eventually got pulled and carried with the music into a dancing delirium.

Frenzied and revitalising, Shepherd’s set was a fantastic demonstration of the sound capacity of this new venue, one I hope returns next year. And I wouldn’t be disheartened to see Floating Points on the programme again either.

Photo courtesy of Jess Shurte