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London producer and classically trained composer Floating Points has established himself as one of the most beloved and versatile figures in electronic music and a mindful excavator of musics from the African diaspora.
The DJ and selector born Sam Shepherd has been digging deep into the annals of dance music and kindred genres of hip-hop, and jazz from his early teens, when he would decamp to local Manchester record shops during his lunch hours. His record collection, which has mushroomed to five figures, has been boosted by digging trips to Chicago, Detroit, and Brazil. Regularly billed alongside the likes of Four Tet and Theo Parrish, Shepherd has graced the decks at renowned venues across the world, but his exploratory sets were particularly well suited to his residency at Plastic People, the beloved basement club in London that was shuttered in 2015.
Shepherd's productions are known for their technical acuity, intricate melodies, and precisely calibrated dynamics, and appeal to dance music purists and mainstream audiences alike. His debut 7-inch came out in 2009 on Eglo, the label he co-runs alongside Rinse FM's Alexander Nut, which has hosted nearly all of his subsequent EPs, save for a pair of records on Planet Mu and R2. In 2014, Shepherd joined James Holden, Vessel, and Biosphere in Morocco for a week-long artist residency alongside master Gnawa musicians Mahmoud Guinia and Mohamed Kouyou. An EP recorded during the period, Marhaba, was jointly released on Eglo and Holden's Border Community label the following year.
In 2015, shortly following the completion of a PhD in neuroscience, Shepherd delivered his long-awaited debut full-length, Elaenia. Constructed mainly with analogue synths, Fender Rhodes, and live instruments, the album — whose title was inspired by a dream about a lone migratory bird disappearing into a wild forest — swerved away from the dancefloor but was nonetheless met with widespread critical acclaim, including being named Resident Advisor's top album of the year.