Riding the wave of Manchester’s love for all things disco, Below the Surface and Troupe presented an all-night set from DJ, producer, crate-digger and mad scientist Sam Shepherd Ph.D., a.k.a. Floating Points.
Last year, Shepherd released transcendent house banger ‘Nuits Sonores’, one of the biggest records of 2014, and with new album Elaenia due out in November, the Lost In Space opening party provided an opportunity to see a bigger-than-he’s-ever-been Floating Points playing to an audience of bona fide fans.
Much has been said of Shepherd’s varied influences when it comes to his production and DJ sets, and this is something that becomes abundantly clear when watching him play over so many hours. Throughout the night, the set smoothly segued between inventively mixed classic hip-hop and soul into faster, bouncier house and 80s disco funk. With a further dash of jazzier numbers and the odd sneaky techno tune, the set frequently hit that characteristic Floating Points sweet spot between diverse musical genres, conveying the sheer depth and breadth of Shepherd’s wax arsenal.
The Floating Points set staples of Daniel Dixon’s ‘Dance Dance’ and Ramsey & Co’s ‘Love Call’ were crowd-pleasing highlights, banishing any disappointment fans might have had about the lack of Floating Points tunes in the mix. However, it was when Shepherd was at his most daring that the night took an interesting turn, setting it apart from Manchester’s usual disco fare. The sight of a room full of people getting down to bizarre saxophone-and-drums fusion and bebop tracks showed a fully-developed multi-genre DJ, miles ahead of when he used to mix Basement Jaxx into Pharoah Sanders at school discos. Moments like this overwhelmed the occasional issues suffered with the treble and acoustics in the main room—a price worth paying for an all-vinyl set of forgotten classics.