Promises: Chapter I by Floating Points Pharoah Sanders &amp the London Symphony Orchestra Album Review by Adam Williams for Northern Transmissions


Promises: Chapter I

Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & the London Symphony Orchestra

A body of work that’s been half a decade in the making. A cohesion of three musical visionaries. A combination of elegance, subtlety and sophistication; where jazz, electronics and strings coalesce in a perfect union. ‘Promises: Chapter I’ is a collaborative record by electronic artist and composer Floating Points (aka Sam Shepherd), iconic jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and the equally legendary London Symphony Orchestra. The project was conceived across the Atlantic Ocean, with Shepherd and Sanders working out of Los Angeles, while the London Symphony Orchestra produced their parts in London at Air Studios.

‘Promises: Chapter I’ is billed as “a continuous piece of music in nine movements for saxophone, strings, keyboards and electronics, composed by Sam Shepherd, which will eventually make up a trilogy of releases under the ‘Promises’ umbrella. This first chapter is a delicate amalgamation of the sum of its collaborators’ parts, where neither partner steals the limelight as their subsequent contributions tessellate perfectly.

Running as a continuous thread throughout the 45 minute-plus opus, you’ll be ushered along by a discreet harp twinkle that is eventually joined by Sanders’ smoky saxophone. This is closely followed by the jazz-man’s wordless vocal coos, as you’re gently guided through ‘Promises: Chapter I’s early moments. As the brass embellishments and disembodied voices subside, the album begins to ascend to its peak, ever so slowly. The crescendo of swooning orchestral beauty is at first low-key and on the periphery, before expanding to a grandiose expansion of elegant sound that would complement any motion picture. Where the record’s jazzier moments paint ‘Promises: Chapter I’ with mauves and purples, when the London Symphony Orchestra are in flow swing, the kaleidoscope of colours morph to bright yellows and blues, as if to inject some drama to the earlier, more sedate sonic pockets. As the classical shades commence their descent, Sanders’ wistful sax gently glides to the fore, accompanied by fluttering electronic nuances that occupy an otherworldly realm. As theninth movement comes to a close, a slow-burning, celestial hue begins to peak over the horizon, like the dawn of a new day, acting as a bridge to the second chapter of ‘Promise’s three part odyssey.

The journey has begun….where will our intrepid explorers take us next on ‘Chapter II’?

order Promises: Chapter I HERE


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