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CRITIC REVIEWS

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.

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

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

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
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
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
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
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.

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
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
Clash

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

90
The Needle Drop

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

90
Exclaim!

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

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
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
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.

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.
70
Uncut

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

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

JacksonLerner
90

there’s an unpredictability about ‘promises’ which gives this project a distinct edge. there aren’t many creations similar to ‘promises’, as it seems to be a one of a kind mix of ambient, orchestral, and jazz music.

it seems that it is challenging for pharaoh sanders to go slow, as floating points practically demands for the ambient product to be a far reaching, understated soundscape.

an instrumental drama builds throughout the album. london symphony ... 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

zacclenehan
100

A beautiful progressive masterpiece that blends and combines all the beauty that comes with ambient, electronic, jazz and classical. You seem to grow with the album, even if you do zone out.
Full review coming soon.

midnights
90

added may 28

s3bbrs
85

It’s beautiful.

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Track List

1Movement 1
6:24
87
2Movement 2
2:31
83
3Movement 3
2:32
83
4Movement 4
2:31
82
5Movement 5
4:25
86
6Movement 6
8:50
96
7Movement 7
9:28
88
8Movement 8
7:22
86
9Movement 9
2:30
84
Total Length: 46 minutes
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Added on: February 16, 2021