Apparently created in only five weeks, Crush employs the vocabulary of techno, UK garage, electronica, IDM and ambient and includes a handful of DJ-friendly dance floor cuts, which match cutting-edge UK garage and techno beats with producer Sam Shepherd’s rich, detailed sound design and cultured musicality. 

The serene moments are often beautiful: Sea Watch is an emotive, flowing electronic neo-classical piece that moves from delicate to dramatic, while the new age pads and chimes of the devotional Requiem for CS70 and Strings are strangely beguiling. Elsewhere there are more experimental moments like Karakul where pitter-pattering electronics scatter across a soundscape made of reverb and bass tones, or the tense strings and pulsing, flickering synths of the eventually ecstatic Falaise. Genuinely alluring in places, Crush is a sophisticated, accomplished and elegant collection of electronic, club-ready and club-adjacent music.

Harold Heath

It might be a slight exaggeration to call Sam Shepherd’s third full-length as Floating Points an exegesis on 25 years’ worth of IDM — but only a slight one. Breaching the headphone/dancefloor dichotomy with rhythmic complexity that never sabotages its own groove for feints at cleverness, Crush takes a post-subgenre approach to trackbuilding that builds off familiar rhythmic signifiers: the shuffling frictionlessness of UK garage on “Anasickmodular,” the analog dream-pulse of synth-tweaking downtempo on “Requiem for CS70 and Strings,” Kompakt-aegis microhouse-gone-maximal on “LesAlpx,” and Aphex-ian mixtures of ambient warmth and turboglitch beats (“Environments”). Where Floating Points takes those sounds is as wide open as his idea to mingle them in the first place, and the lack of cohesive mission-statement clarity as Crush jumps from style to style only adds to the awe and beauty Shepherd can distill from a sense of chaotic spontaneity.

Nate Patrin