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 orchestra help create stunning soundscapes that feel grand.
something interesting is that every single movement begins with the same riff or theme. in other words, these artists have the ability to entertainingly vary their presentations for every single movement.
all transitions throughout the album are unnoticeable - which is insanely good. each transition between movements is impressive, and when all these transitions are put together into one cohesive project, the project becomes outstanding.
throughout “movement one”, the artists use silence as their superpower. pharoah sanders takes attention away from the fading ambience and clearly steals the show.
“movement two” shows the music’s style taking a more laid back approach. the relaxing atmospherics are encompassing.
“movement three” has some chiming piano and indescribably lush sounds. toward the end there’s a hooting, and it seems like there’s a mechanical owl within the music.
movement four has my favorite part of the record. there’s a deep voice indecipherably scat singing. the voice is strumming and vibrating like a guitar. then, pharoah reappears and delightfully performs with his saxophone. sanders continues under the spotlight as “movement five” begins with an extended saxophone solo. in actuality, “movement five” begins in the middle of the solo, as pharaoh’s solo continues from the end of “movement four” throughout the first three and a half minutes of “movement five”. “movement five” stands tall as the centerpiece of the project, and deservedly so. sanders employs one singular extended section for the track, and it’s astounding. the song ends with a minute of quiet, as the main theme continues repeating.
“movement six” has extreme drama which implodes. london symphony orchestra go off on “movement six”. the track starts with some quiet sounds which slowly pick up. the strings gain serious complexity as they ascend toward the middle section. they eventually swirl around and surround the listener with chaotic, dramatic swells of instrumentation.
“movement seven” shoots sparks about the ambient landscape. it begins as an extremely quiet song, and it gradually builds into the longest track. this happens for good reason because there are many distinct ideas present on “movement seven” that aren’t present anywhere else on this project. ideas such as hectic jazz, abrasively loud dynamics, deteriorating ambiance, certain spacey electronics, and the aforementioned sparks. at many points, the saxophone ensues in chaos.
“movement eight” is calm. it’s a bit boring, and a bit too toned down. it ends in sixty three seconds of silence, which isn’t surprising considering the whole first half was close to silent. this quiet, however, presents “movement nine” as a hidden track.
“movement nine” is shrilling. it serves as the climactic ending to ‘promises’. the orchestra is intense on this song, even during the quiet moments. the middle section of the song is beautifully in your face. it’s almost aggressive how loud the orchestra are playing. the high pitched swings turn explosive when they participate. the orchestral chops are apparent as ever on “movement nine”, and it is an appropriate closer.