British producer Sam Shepherd’s last project as Floating Points, REFLECTIONS, was recorded in the Mojave Desert, and was full of spacey, sunbaked psych jams worthy of Pink Floyd. He’d journeyed well beyond the giddy, eclectic dance singles on which he’d built his reputation, which is probably why last July’s “LesAlpx” single—a sudden, visceral burst of dancefloor energy—felt like a bolt from the blue. Crush gives Floating Points fans the best of both worlds; it’s as vast and epic as 2017’s stellar debut album, Elaenia, but also more streamlined and danceable, with a palpable uptempo undercurrent.
Crush expertly strikes a balance between the contemplative and the kinetic. “Falaise” opens with an elegant flutter of strings and woodwinds, with Shepherd’s ARP and Buchla adding a heavenly element to the piece. Strings weave in and out of his gear again on “Anasickmodular,” but Shepherd keeps accelerating the pace until it bursts into a full on dance track. “Environments” has all the wistful melancholia of classic Boards of Canada, but Floating Points pairs it to a tricky rhythmic pattern that seriously knocks. A tribute to the NGO that sends ships out to rescue refugees from the Mediterranean, “Sea-Watch” is Shepherd’s most poignant work to date, quickening the pulse without deploying a single beat. Cerebral and physical in equal measure, Crush also packs an emotional punch.