Floating Points

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Floating Points
Shepherd performing in Montreal, 2011
Shepherd performing in Montreal, 2011
Background information
Birth nameSamuel Shepherd
Born1986 (age 37–38)
Manchester, England, UK
GenresElectronic, jazz
Years active2008–present
LabelsPluto Records
Eglo Records
Luaka Bop
Ninja Tune
Planet Mu

Samuel Shepherd, known professionally as Floating Points, is a British electronic music producer, DJ, and musician. He is the founder of Pluto Records,[1] co-founder of Eglo Records and leader of a 16-piece group called Floating Points Ensemble.


Raised in Manchester, England, Shepherd studied piano at Chetham's School of Music[2] before receiving a PhD in neuroscience and epigenetics at University College London.[3] He also worked as a DJ at Plastic People, a London club, in the late 2000s.[4][5]

In late 2008, Shepherd and Alexander Nut launched the Eglo record label.[6] Eglo Records had released music by Floating Points, Fatima, Funkineven, Steve Spacek, Dego & Kaidi, Shafiq Husayn, K15, Mizz Beats, Natalie Slade, Destiny71z, Shy One, Henry Wu, Chunky and others.

In 2010, Shepherd performed with a 16-piece live incarnation of Floating Points, entitled the Floating Points Ensemble. The group won an award for "Best BBC Radio 1 Maida Vale Session".[7]

In 2015, Shepherd founded Pluto records. He released projects such as Eleania, Kuiper, Crush, and Reflections: Mojave Desert from the label.[8][9]

Shepherd's musical influences include Claude Debussy, Olivier Messiaen, and Bill Evans.[4] He began releasing work under the Floating Points moniker in 2008,[10] and in 2017 toured with The xx.[11]

He has also remixed musicians such as Thundercat, Caribou, Basement Jaxx, Skepta & Headie One.


Shepherd's first release was the Vacuum EP in 2008 on Eglo Records. Over the next few years, he would continuously release EPs and singles on Eglo, but also other labels such as Planet Mu. Notable releases included 2011's Shadows EP and 2014's "King Bromeliad" / "Montparnasse".

On 6 November 2015, Shepherd released the first Floating Points album - Elaenia. Around its release, Shepherd launched an 11-piece live show and immediately sold-out a string of global live dates including headline shows at Islington Assembly Hall and two dates at Electric Brixton in London. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, Elaenia received an average score of 85, based on 20 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[12] Hamill Industries and Floating Points created the exhibition ‘Future Shocks’ at 180, The Strand in London in collaboration with FACT. The exhibition featured an installation by Hamill called “Vortex”.[13] In 2017, Shepherd released Reflections: Mojave Desert. The album recording was accompanied by a short film produced by long-time collaborator Anna Diaz Ortuño of Hamill Industries. The album was recorded in August 2016 in the Mojave Desert when Shepherd and his band were rehearsing for their upcoming US tour. Floating Points explained: "Whilst we were out playing and exploring the area around us – the sound reflecting from the rocks, the sound of the wind between them, complete stillness at night and packs of roaming coyotes in the distance, it became apparent that we could use this as its own unique recording environment”.

On 29 March 2019, Shepherd contributed a DJ mix to the Late Night Tales series.

On 18 October 2019, Shepherd released the album Crush. It received positive reception upon release. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from music publications, the album received an average score of 81 based on 16 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". Shepherd embarked on a tour following the album's release, selling out shows at Printworks, Elysee Montmartre, and Funkhaus.

During lockdown, Shepherd collaborated with KDV Dance Ensemble and Boiler Room to host an interactive live stream on Zoom. He was Interviewed by New York Times.[14]

On 26 March 2021, Shepherd released a collaborative album with Pharoah Sanders and the London Symphony Orchestra, entitled Promises. It was nominated for the Mercury Prize 2021 and reached #6 in the Official UK Albums Chart and #1 in the Official UK Vinyl Albums Chart.[15][16][17] The album was released on New York label Luaka Bop. Sanders was impressed by Elaenia and befriended Shepherd, who was 40 years younger than him. Sanders proposed that they produce a collaborative album. Shepherd composed the music and played both electronic and non-electronic instruments.[18][19][20]

After Sanders' death in 2022, Shepherd put together a one-time live performance of the album at the Hollywood Bowl, conducted by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson with an ensemble cast including Sam Shepherd, Kieran Hebden, Dan Snaith, Shabaka Hutchings, Kara Lis Coverdale, Hinako Omori. The Independent reviewed the performance, calling it “A near perfect body of music paired with a beautiful tribute” and gave it 4/5 stars.

In 2022, Shepherd released the singles Vocoder, Grammar, Promises, Birth4000, and Someone Close. In 2023, Shepherd released Birth4000.

He collaborated as a producer for Japanese American singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada album Bad Mode, working on the songs Bad Mode, Kibunja Naino (Not In The Mood) and Somewhere Near Marseilles.

Shepherd composed an original score for Mere Mortals for the San Francisco Ballet which premiered on 26 January 2024. The ballet, featuring choreography from Aszure Barton, contextualised the ancient parable of Pandora’s Box in AI. Shepherd worked with long-time creative collaborators Hamill Industries. The initial run of shows sold out.[21][22][23][24][25] A second run is planned for April 2024.


Studio albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]


  • Vacuum EP (2009)
  • Shadows EP (2011)
  • Kuiper (2016)


  • "J&W Beat" (2009)
  • "Love Me Like This" (2009)
  • "For You" (2009)
  • "People's Potential" / "Shark Chase" (2010)
  • "Post Suite" / "Almost in Profile" (2010) (as Floating Points Ensemble)
  • "Sais (Dub)" (2011)
  • "Marilyn" (2011)
  • "Danger" (2011)
  • "Wires" (2013)
  • "King Bromeliad" / "Montparnasse" (2014)
  • "Sparkling Controversy" (2014)
  • "Nuits Sonores" / "Nectarines" (2014)
  • "Kuiper" (2016)
  • "For Marmish Part II" (2016)
  • "Silurian Blue" (2017)
  • "Ratio" (2017)
  • "LesAlpx" (2019)
  • "Last Bloom" (2019)
  • "Anasickmodular" (2019)
  • "Bias" (2020)
  • "Vocoder" (2022)
  • "Grammar" (2022)
  • "Problems" (2022)
  • "Someone Close" (2022)
  • "Birth4000" (2023)


  1. ^ "Pluto · Record label ⟋ RA". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  2. ^ Hutchinson, Kate (29 October 2015). "I DJ, therefore I am: Floating Points on musical experiments and marathon sets". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 20 December 2015. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  3. ^ Titmus, Stephen (3 November 2015). "Floating Points: Extraordinary lengths". Resident Advisor. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  4. ^ a b Bromwich, Jonah Engel (16 October 2019). "Floating Points, Electronic Music's King of Pain". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 25 December 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  5. ^ Murphy, Rhodes (28 October 2019). "How Floating Points, producer and neuroscientist, made the perfect soundtrack for our existing chaos". Document Journal. Retrieved 1 March 2024.
  6. ^ "Eglo Records". Eglo Records. Retrieved 1 March 2024.
  7. ^ "Eglo Records". Eglo Records. Archived from the original on 27 November 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Pluto · Record label ⟋ RA". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 1 March 2024.
  9. ^ Helfet, Gabriela (26 September 2017). "Floating Points' Pluto Records drops secret 12". The Vinyl Factory. Retrieved 1 March 2024.
  10. ^ Jeffries, David. "Artist Biography". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 9 June 2020. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  11. ^ O'Connor, Roisin (17 October 2019). "Floating Points review, Crush: An insight into Sam Shepherd's brilliant mind". The Independent. Archived from the original on 26 November 2020. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  12. ^ Elaenia by Floating Points, retrieved 16 April 2024
  13. ^ "Vortex". Hamill Industries. 20 September 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  14. ^ "Floating Points featuring KDV Dance Ensemble & Friends". BOILER ROOM. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  15. ^ "Promises by Floating Points". Metacritic.
  16. ^ "Promises, by Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & the London Symphony Orchestra".
  17. ^ Russonello, Giovanni (25 March 2021). "Pharoah Sanders and Floating Points Meet in the Atmosphere". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  18. ^ "Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders' Promises Is a Remarkable Intergenerational Collaboration". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 1 March 2024.
  19. ^ Shaffer, Claire (16 February 2021). "Pharoah Sanders Announces First Album in a Decade With Floating Points". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 1 March 2024.
  20. ^ FT (24 April 2021). "ASTRAL TRAVELING". Artforum. Retrieved 1 March 2024.
  21. ^ Howard, Rachel. "Review: San Francisco Ballet's AI-themed 'Mere Mortals' scores passionate success without scandal". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  22. ^ "SF Ballet Premieres 'Mere Mortals,' a Must-See Blend of Mythology, Technology, and Choreography". SFist - San Francisco News, Restaurants, Events, & Sports. 2 February 2024. Archived from the original on 2 March 2024. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  23. ^ Katz, Leslie. "AI And Humanity Dance A Charged Duet In 'Mere Mortals' At S.F. Ballet". Forbes. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  24. ^ Examiner, Garth Grimball | Special to The (31 January 2024). "SF Ballet begins new era by breaking barriers". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  25. ^ "Are the myths of Pandora and Prometheus a parable for AI?". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  26. ^ Kellman, Andy (6 November 2015). "Elaenia". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 7 December 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  27. ^ "Reflections – Mojave Desert by Floating Points on Apple Music". Apple Inc. Archived from the original on 25 May 2017. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  28. ^ Minsker, Evan (28 August 2019). "Floating Points Announces New Album Crush, Shares New Song: Listen". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 29 August 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2019.

External links[edit]