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Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra Promises

Part soundtrack, part jazz club and part soulful ambience, Promises is a record best served horizontally.

Released: 26 March 2021

It might be five years in the making, but Promises has been well worth the wait, as Sam Shepherd (AKA Floating Points) and spiritual jazz legend Pharaoh Sanders, now 80 years old, combine in Los Angeles to bring about a wondrous musical incantation. Even more special is the fact that they were joined by the London Symphony Orchestra to combine forces and add to the melting pot of influences and sounds.

While Promises is broken up into movements, this really is just one long piece of music that flows together so well that time itself seems to slow down. It’s one of those releases that you would happily leave playing from start to finish and repeat over the course of an afternoon, never knowing where the record begins and ends.

Sanders’ saxophone sits perfectly alongside Floating Points keyboards and electronics, and the album forms a warm, beatless accompaniment to legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen’s collaboration with Detroit techno-wizard Jeff Mills a few years ago. At times, there are shifts in the energy driven by Sanders, who leads the music towards a cosmic outer-space jazz vibe. At other points, the LSO’s strings induce a variety of emotions that slip effortlessly between serenity and mild urgency.

Ultimately, the piece always returns to the tranquillity and foundations of its timeless and stunning composition – whether you are listening to it for the third or fourth time that day.