- The sound of Sam Shepherd "having fun."
- "It's essentially the sound of me having loads of fun with the machines in my studio and going back to basics," said Sam Shepherd. "I started going back to my early records and all the sounds I loved playing at clubs like fabric and Plastic People." Given the years-long discussion about the development of the Floating Points sound and the calls for him to make more music in his original style, it's tempting to think Shepherd could have instead said, "Here you go, you bastards. Have some of this." On LesAlpx / Coorabell, Shepherd doesn't revisit his early music so much as survey the scene and roll a hand grenade towards it. These are the most straight-up dance-floor orientated tracks he's ever written.
It's worth remembering that even his most famous club tracks, like "Nuits Sonores," "Vacuum Boogie" and "ARP3," were full of warmth, soft edges and lovely instrumentation. We do get a little of that on LesAlpx / Coorabell, but these parts are always secondary to the dominant desire to bang. Around halfway through "Coorabell," one of those gorgeous synth melodies of Shepherd's cascades through the track, which until that point had bumped—with help from a garage bassline, taut synth part and rattling hit-hats—at a rapid 135 BPM. What happens next, though, is telling: Shepherd throws an outrageous distortion over everything and completely upends the bliss.
There are echoes of mid-period James Holden in "LesAlpx," the point when the UK artist was still attached to progressive trance but had begun to sound meaner and more adventurous. Shepherd here uses rhythmic white noise and enormous synth swells in a way Holden was fond of, and there's a dramatic breakdown that fades almost to nothing before the alarm is sounded by a short keyboard phrase and the beats crash back in. It's all still very much Floating Points, but not as we've ever heard him.