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Forum nameThe Lesson
Topic subjectFloating Points & Pharoah Sanders - Promises
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=5&topic_id=3031431
3031431, Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders - Promises
Posted by agentzero, Sat Mar-27-21 12:57 PM

one of the most hyped releases out there at the moment.

had this on for two full listens yesterday and i can not shake the feeling of being dissapointed by what i heard.
i love my slow and meditative releases but the pace on this one left me a bit bored and i did not feel emotionally moved.

again the repeating motive did not do it for me. the album is basically one long ass track (46 minutes) and left me wishing for more.

what do you think about this ?!?
3031434, I felt the exact same way
Posted by Options, Sat Mar-27-21 07:38 PM
based on the portions I listened to via Bandcamp.

like you, I can absolutely get down with meditative projects, but my strike zone for that mode of music is really small, and this just didn't hit it. I was ready for a new motif after just the first track.

I'm actually not too upset, cuz there are plenty of other projects vying for my cash, so those funds can be put to better use elsewhere.
3031446, unfortunately you are correct!
Posted by PuertoNico, Sun Mar-28-21 02:36 PM
feels so repetetive
3031448, Having listened to this twice over now, unfortunately I have to agree.
Posted by dillinjah, Sun Mar-28-21 05:38 PM
Having said that, I do love movement 5, and especially 6.
3031456, this hit just right for me
Posted by thebigfunk, Mon Mar-29-21 10:38 AM
It's sort of right up my alley - a long, slow, repetitive piece with lots of space/silence? Sign me up!

But that bias aside, I thought it was really well done. The orchestral arrangement is really well-executed, not heavy-handed at all, and Sanders' playing is just perfect: very lyrical, almost plaintive at times, really tender (which I honestly wasn't expecting).

My only gripe (and this is totally me and probably unjustified and more of an observation than a gripe): one of my favorite pieces in the world is John Luther Adams' "In the White Silence" and I *swear* the main riff on this pieces is strikingly similar to the main motif on JLA's composition. Ultimately to totally different effect though - no recurring, searching sax on "White Silence" - and maybe I'm exaggerating the similarity in my head.

But yeah, putting aside the hype, I think this is beautiful and it hit just right for me. This will be a regular listen for a while, probably early morning or late evening.


~ i could still snort you under the table ~
3031460, this is cool
Posted by Options, Mon Mar-29-21 07:04 PM
it wasn't for me, but I'm happy to hear this album is finding its audience. I'm hoping another ambient-esque project shows up soon that I can get into.
3031584, this
Posted by howardlloyd, Mon Apr-05-21 11:24 AM
>and Sanders' playing is just perfect:
>very lyrical, almost plaintive at times
3031623, this kinda sold it for me.
Posted by LeroyBumpkin, Tue Apr-06-21 09:15 AM
I dig Movement 1.
3031639, Agreed with this
Posted by cal.25, Tue Apr-06-21 05:31 PM
Took a first listen to this while out on a run in the morning, and it connected with me from start to end.

Reminded me too about first hearing the opening track of Floating Points 'Crush' album, and was wishing for more orchestral/string arrangements from him. I was slightly disappointed that Crush didn't have more of it... but this new album Promises has filled the void for me.

Now looking for more long, slow meditative pieces - would love to hear more in this style!
3031578, Worked for me
Posted by bentagain, Sun Apr-04-21 08:12 AM
I have a yoga routine that I try to do daily

This was perfect background music

Sometimes I use YouTube videos of a frequency playing for hours

This was like a symphonic version of that

I was very happy with Passages

This is in that lane.
3031636, i think i was comparing it to the critical reception
Posted by agentzero, Tue Apr-06-21 04:31 PM
its hailed as a stunning and groundbreaking release possible album of the year...

you said yoga record lol
3031654, RE: i think i was comparing it to the critical reception
Posted by thebigfunk, Wed Apr-07-21 07:30 AM

>you said yoga record lol

Although I get the point and the joke, it's worth remembering that music is frequently used as a part of meditative practice in any number of cultures -- "yoga record" isn't a bad thing.

And the type of music that is often used is frequently minimalist in instrumentation, slow/subtle in development, and long in duration -- which, in the context of our times anyway, is in fact pretty radical in itself. There's a reason so many avant garde musicians explore silence at some point in their journey (and there's a reason many of them have dabbled in serious meditative practices at some point, too).

I haven't seen folks call this groundbreaking -- I don't think it's that (but I don't think that matters, I'm not sure why we put such emphasis on the idea of new-ness in music/art). But the more I listen, the more I do feel this is an exceptional record for sure.


~ i could still snort you under the table ~
3031622, RE: disagree, this is phenomenal
Posted by rmcphedr, Tue Apr-06-21 08:20 AM
not quite up there with Elaenia, but a great LP nonetheless.
3031649, I agree OP.
Posted by shockvalue, Tue Apr-06-21 08:14 PM
Big fan of FP and of Sanders, but this is shockingly (from either man) schmaltzy, and too slight to support its running time.

I do like some of it, mainly the first track and the one where Sanders scats. They should do another album of more varied material, with drums.
3031653, RE: I agree OP.
Posted by thebigfunk, Wed Apr-07-21 07:19 AM
>Big fan of FP and of Sanders, but this is shockingly (from
>either man) schmaltzy, and too slight to support its running

What on earth does schmaltzy mean in this context? No snark but of all the possible definitions/examples I can imagine, I wouldn't come up with it here.

And slight here is weird to me, too. I'd like to hear what you think makes too slight for its running time.


~ i could still snort you under the table ~
3031655, RE: I agree OP.
Posted by shockvalue, Wed Apr-07-21 08:08 AM
It’s the odd paradox of music whose palette and epic form suggests it should be emotionally stirring, and yet I feel nothing. Similar to to way i feel about Max Richter. Bad romance if you will...

The strings don’t evoke anything for me except bad string writing of the kind you often hear in pop music.

Cheesy, simplistic, and not worth the expense. Heavy use of unison, no depth of harmony which on a project with Pharoah Sanders is baffling.

Strings that simply say, “this is a string section bitches, get emo to this...for 45 minutes!”

I know FP is a polymath, but the Peter principle is still in effect.

(Btw I pre-ordered this on vinyl so will probably listen at least a few more times, I’ll come back and update if it grows on me as things often do).

3031656, RE: I agree OP.
Posted by shockvalue, Wed Apr-07-21 09:47 AM
Movement 6 is the best microcosm.

1 minute of PS, followed by 6 minutes of FP noodle orchestral writing that is just not compelling. Too busy to be ambient music, too flat and rote to be stirring. He uses the orchestra like a monophonic instrument almost, to play these melodramatic cliches..

If the album didn’t have access to Pharoah I might not judge the long FP orchestral sessions so harshly but it’s like, you’ve got a brilliant soloist and (orchestrally) a novice accompaniest, lean into your strengths.
3031711, Thanks for the detailed review
Posted by thebigfunk, Fri Apr-09-21 09:07 AM
I strongly disagree but the funny thing, that's what I *expected* to find when I got ready for the first spin. Aside from a few moments, though, I actually feel almost the exact opposite: orchestra use is smartly understated, often subtle yet very well-developed -- definitely not "monophonic" and I wouldn't call it novice-level writing by any stretch.

I'll come back with a bit more of a breakdown later on how I hear it.

One thing I'd suggest: I think we sometimes have a tendency as music listeners to say, "X is involved -- why didn't 'they' use X more?" -- similar to the "lean into your strengths" argument you're making.

But why not take a piece on its own merits wholly, esp. when dealing with artists we particularly respect? In other words, we either like it or we don't, we find it interesting or we don't, we think it's great or we don't, or sophisticated or not --- but accept as a basic premise that it is whole in itself, not lacking because it is not something else, or because it did not use all of its parts in the way we expect it to.

In this case, we respond to the piece as we do but why reach to say -- "they should have used Sanders in such and such a way"? Clearly they had a vision here -- we can take it and appreciate it or dismiss it as is without playing armchair producer in our listening and critique.


~ i could still snort you under the table ~