Pharoah Sanders, Floating Points & London Symphony Orchestra - Promises
Critic Score
Based on 26 reviews
2021 Ratings: #6 / 753
Year End Rank: #3
User Score
2021 Rank: #10
Liked by 517 people
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
musicOMH

This is a truly joyous album, and a purely pleasurable experience.

100
Albumism
Listen in solitude if you can and its beauty will illuminate your life in ways that didnโ€™t seem possible.
100
The Observer
Five years in the making, this breathtaking album transcends the genres each of its three collaborators bring to the table.
100
Loud and Quiet

Sanders’ performance is the star turn, seeming almost three-dimensional with his breath sounds and key-clicks interacting  with Shepherd’s electronics, and the LSO’s blending of their instruments is always the moreish side of soupy.

90
Still Listening
It is an album that reaches emotional and spiritual depths without ever overindulging, undermining, or losing itself.
90
Pitchfork

The all-star collaboration between a producer, a saxophonist, and a symphony is a celestial event. But it’s Pharaoh Sanders’ playing that holds it all together, a clear late-career masterpiece.

90
The Sydney Morning Herald

This collaboration with Shepherd and the strings of the London Symphony Orchestra offers a stunning re-contextualisation of Sanders’ titanic tenor saxophone.

90
FLOOD Magazine

Its lengthy epic movements, gently textured and opulently lived in by the London Symphony Orchestra’s startled, spacey strings, could exist on a planet of their own—a rainy evening’s night sky with stars blinking dimly before the clouds.

90
The Needle Drop

Promises is a tasteful, spellbinding, and beautiful intersection of jazz, classical, and electronic music.

90
Crack Magazine

Certainly the most ambitious record of Shepherd’s career to date and probably the best, Promises is dream-like and totally captivating throughout.

90
Clash

‘Promises’ is five years' worth of experimental soundscaping condensed into one mind-boggling harmonic journey. A highly accomplished piece of music.

90
Exclaim!

A recording that is more of a transcending mind meld than it is a collaboration.

90
Under the Radar

Despite these players’ histories in creating abstract noise, Promises is one of the most unexpectedly quiet and beautiful albums of the year so far. It utilizes the sheer magnitude of its stars’ talent while showing a magnificent mastery of restraint.

90
Paste

There’s a timeless quality to Promises, an inscrutable sense that the album could hail from 30 years in the past or 30 years into the future. Of course, that’s what makes it a genuine intergenerational collaboration, this sense of time collapsing upon itself.

90
PopMatters

Perhaps it's reverence for the power of the expansive that makes Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders such a dynamic combination on Promises, their breathtaking collaboration.

87
Beats Per Minute

The tremors from the encounter between Sanders and Shepherd resonating out into the infinitude. It leaves us in no doubt that we have just witnessed a meeting of monolithic proportions.

85
Spectrum Culture
A widescreen, cross-generational collaboration that takes the listener on a beautiful, unpredictable journey.
82
Sputnikmusic
Itโ€™s music at its most transportive and experiential - to converse and to live and to dream with - such that both words and ratings fail to really articulate what makes it special.
80
Rolling Stone
Sanders pushes his sound to its most heavenly extreme, with his murmuring lines hovering above producer Floating Pointsโ€™ ambient-classical shimmer.
80
Mojo

It's a subtly sophisticated piece, but it also creates space for Sanders to showcase his tender, measured, lyrical phrasing, abstracted scatting and, 34 minutes into this 46-minute marvel, a brief sputtering blast of free saxophone energy that proves, at 80, his fire remains potent.

80
The Line of Best Fit

Promises matches the patience required for the project’s realization. Built on a sparse keyboard figure, the composition at the core of the collaboration can initially seem underwhelmingly slender, even repetitively monotonous. Repeated listens gradually reveal a different story.

80
Northern Transmissions

A combination of elegance, subtlety and sophistication; where jazz, electronics and strings coalesce in a perfect union.

80
The Arts Desk

Promises is a musical space for play and contemplation, where the attention to detail, stimulated by the repetitive leitmotif, makes the moments of variation and improvisation emotionally extraordinary.

80
Record Collector

It's an impressive if harmonically static musical edifice built on Shepherd's omnipresent keyboard ripples, over which Sanders' braying tenor sax emits billowing squalls of sound ... Promises exhibits a rare unique beauty.

70
Uncut

Promises is an impressive collision oftalents, and sublimely lovely in places, but also frustratingly slight.

70
AllMusic
To Shepherd's credit, his framework for Sanders is in the moment. There's no evident intent to evoke any point in the saxophonist's past, or even in maintaining continuity with the Floating Points catalog.
eliiscool5
83

Less is more, and more is more.

๐“ผ๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“ด ๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“ฝ๐“ธ ๐“ฝ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ ๐“ถ๐“พ๐“ผ๐“ฒ๐“ฌ - ๐“Ÿ๐“ป๐“ธ๐“ถ๐“ฒ๐“ผ๐“ฎ๐“ผ

Sam Shepherd on the composition, London Symphony Orchestra on the performance, and Pharoah Sanders on the execution. Perhaps one would not fathom a partnership between the three acts, but indubitably, the value of the end product would be prodigious. I expected a grandiose delivery from the three brilliance through mighty showcases, and even with hindsight, ... read more

ScoopTime
100

Promises as many of you know is my favorite album of all time and it is quite strange an album with no lyrics or vocals whatsoever is my favorite album, so I'd like to explain why. Promises is a collaboration between the legendary Pharoah Sanders, the fresh faced electronic artist Floating Points, and the whole of the London Symphony Orchestra.

Pharoah Sanders needs no introduction whatsoever, with his nearly 60 year career as a musician helping create classic jazz albums and formulate his ... read more

BradTasteMusic
95

It’s quite fascinating hearing this repeating melody over and over throughout the entire full length project. It’s a centerpiece throughout every movement here. Everything else just tells the story on top of it. I never got sick of it. I was hypnotized. The whole thing feels really melancholic. Kinda depressed me a bit. Overall great listen

venturasoul
90

Many Albums, 1 Wheel
Album #77 - Promises by Phaorah Sanders, Floating Points, and The London Symphony Orchestra

I listened to this about 1 week ago but forgot to rate it so let me do that now.

I mainly count this as one song cause technically it kinda is. It's one composition divided into 9 movements so yeah.

I fucking love this so much. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever composed and I'm so glad to have finished it. I listened to this considering it is the final piece of ... read more

mattie_vooijs
95

This is a prime example of the power of repetition. Absolutely stunning and mesmerizing work of art.
I could name favourites, but ideally this should be listened to as a whole.

Dashie04
80

I don't really get Classical most times, but this is truley etheral, with an incredible climax and an almost trancelike atmosphere to it.

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Added on: February 16, 2021