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Week 570: “Movement 1” by Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders

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It feels wrong to feature only one movement from Promises.

The new LP from cerebral electronic artist Floating Points and underrated jazz legend Pharoah Sanders, isn’t a collection of songs but rather a single 46-minute track. It’s split into movements, yes, but those movements come and go like life stages; by the time you realize there’s been a change, you’re already well into the next one.

It’s really a remarkable piece of work, engaging and mesmerizing despite its slow pace. The whole thing is held together by a repeating seven-note sequence whose first few notes vary ever so slightly to provide a hint of chord changes, and the mirage-like appearance of momentum: it feels at any moment like the whole thing could open up…and yet, it doesn’t quite get there.

The only thing on this blog that I can compare Promises to is the album by Camille that is anchored by a single sustained note, but that is very much a pop record. A high-concept pop record perhaps, but a pop record nonetheless. Each track on Camille’s album stands alone, like a short story in a thematically consistent anthology.

Listening to just one movement of Promises is a bit like reading one chapter of a novel whose full plot begs your attention.

So here, if you’ll forgive me for tearing out a chapter from a book that definitely deserves a full read, is the opening movement of maybe the most engrossing, magnetic album released so far this year.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. Early on, in the nearly-but-not-quite-silent spaces between the seven-note sequence, tiny little instrument noises can be heard.

2. Pharoah Sanders’ playing is part after-hours jazz club, part “Last Post,” part whispered secret.

3. Other instruments – the strings at 3:15, for example – enter so subtly you can barely feel them enter the room.

Recommended listening activity:

Turning off all the lights in your room very suddenly, and watching everything fade back in slowly as your eyes adjust.

Buy it here.

The post Week 570: “Movement 1” by Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders appeared first on Beautiful Song Of The Week.



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Week 570: “Movement 1” by Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders

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