The Easter weekend is all about festivities and celebration. This year the people of London were spoilt for choice with where and how to party. The legendary Body & Soul disco pioneers – Danny Krivit, Francois K and Joe Claussell held a rare get-together at E1 London. Also, Fever 105 returned to Oval Space for another groovy disco extravaganza; showcasing the legendary talent of Norman Jay, Jazzie B and more. However, Fabric was the pick of a fantastic bunch, as it was announced that Floating Points would be playing a rare extended set, all day long in room 1. Although attending a Body & Soul session has been on my wishlist for some time, and Fever 105 has consistently delivered with their events, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to see Floating Points doing his thing for 8 hours in the booth at Fabric.
As expected, there was a serious party going on in room 1. The place was completely packed out 3 hours into Floating Points set. Moments after entering the main room of the club, the familiar funky sound of ‘‘Question’ emerged, out of the crisp, faultless sound system. That was it. There was no return now. Easter celebrations were in full swing, as the 800 dancing disciples to the music completely lost it. Smoke machines and stunning lasers added to create an electrifying atmosphere. There were people dancing on the elevated level at the back of the room, the dance floor itself, and around the DJ booth. This enabled the crowd to be actively involved with the DJ, you could see him at any position in the club. He certainly shared the energy of the crowd, dancing and singing to every record that he selected. Sam Shepherd (aka Floating Points) is a serious record digger and staunch vinyl enthusiast. Best known for his older music from the crates, he also incorporates modern sounds from all genres, constantly searching for warm inviting melodies to control the dancefloor with. He has emerged as one of many unique electronic talents, who never associated themselves with a certain genre of music at the beginning of their careers. Examples of others who fall into this category include Dekmantel favourites Antal, Hunee, Palms Trax and Four Tet, among many others. This has seemingly resulted in the birth of a new age of the DJ. When going to a club and witnessing one of these DJs at work we should expect absolutely anything. This was the case at Fabric on Easter Sunday and resulted in a totally unpredictable and utterly compelling afternoon.
Shepherd has always been a lover of music; playing the piano, listening to Jazz and collecting records from an early age. He began to take his music career and DJing seriously after clubbing during his time at UCL, and regularly attending nights at the legendary ‘Plastic People’. This was a 200-capacity basement with a ridiculous sound system, owned and controlled by his main inspiration – Ade Fakile. Hearing great music in that space, which was frequented by influential people, was a real turning point in his outlook on DJing. He learnt that it was important to play Jazz, slow Soul and all kinds of records in a dance situation. Ade’s style would be to stop and start records, with no real focus on mixing them. It was all about the talent on the turntable, connecting with the music. We should really appreciate what ‘Plastic People’ and other similar nights have done. These places breed the DJs we are obsessed with today. It provides a platform for music lovers to have a fun time and take unique influences. This gave Floating Points the inspiration he needed as such a young connoisseur of sound. He even travelled to Chicago with his entire student loan to obtain cheaper records and gain more experience. Here he adopted his style of mixing known as riding the pitch, which combined with his faultless selections, made him very popular, very quickly.
From his time at the ‘Plastic People’ parties, Floating Points has learned to play copious amounts of diverse, inviting music. On the night; disco classics such as Magik’s legendary ‘Back Into Your Heart’, and a fantastic re-edit of Betty Wright’s ‘Where Is The Love’, combined with funk and soul floor fillers from the likes of Cameo and AMFM created a fun-loving, high energy atmosphere. Another darker, moody atmosphere was created with synth-led tech house such as fan favourite Denis Sulta’s ‘Dubelle Oh XX’ and enchanting techno in the form of ‘Glob’. Reggae and Hip-Hop records were also spun at the party to calm things slightly but were still equally as enjoyable. The inviting music was reaching out to the crowd through the speakers, which were scattered all around room 1, making everyone feel welcome to the party. Floating Points owned all control of the dance floor, raising and slowing the tempo and constantly changing the mood and feeling of the room, somehow giving the crowd everything they desired. DJ Harvey once said that the best thing he learnt from Larry Levan was his ability to control the dancefloor just by adjusting the volume. This seems to be an important aspect to many DJs and was a big aspect of Floating Points set. This enables the DJ to communicate to the audience through the lyrics, and really control your focus when adjusting the volume at certain points. After creating many different feelings and atmospheres, he closed with a beautiful, old school soul record. Ade’s influence was apparent on the night as he played the sweet, soulful rare groove record ‘Make It Last’ to close the party. Floating Points has recently invested a lot of time into curating and running ‘Melodies International’ with fellow friends and music lovers Red Greg and Mafalda. This project specialises in re-releasing old school rare soul and disco and we can expect this last record of the night to be re-released on this label soon.
Floating Points all day long at Fabric was evidence that he has become a superb selector, whom possesses an impeccable ability to control the energy on the dancefloor. He has a unique talent to understand and recognise what everyone in the room is after, and constantly provides this with his vast amount of records. He had a few minutes to flick through the records positioned behind him, or browse through his files on the decks, but every tune he played delivered, and seemed right for the moment. This, coupled with a super club like Fabric, which possesses some stunning visuals and a faultless sound system, allowed him to impose his skills on the crowd and keep them dancing all afternoon.