The origin of Sam Shepherd's latest EP Reflections - Mojave Desert is an odd one. After traveling to the Mojave Desert and landing in Joshua Tree National Park, Shepherd indulged in his surroundings and ended up creating a short film, all soundtracked by the echoes and reverberations reflecting off the park. To most producers, this approach to recording might seem a bit onerous, but Shepherd's background as a neuroscientist seems a better explanation for the EP, and the difference is in the details. Channeling psychedelic backdrops with subtle ambiance, the end result is something truly fascinating.

Ditching the complexities of his 2015 debut LP Elaena, Shepherd, under the moniker Floating Points, picks up right where he left off on his 2016 EP Kuiper. With more customary song composures and an overall more traditional structure, Reflections - Mojave Desert is a habitually mind rapturing display of artistic coherence. With more consistency than anything he's ever released under Floating Points, Reflections is, through and through, a splendid slice of electronica, capitalizing on where many electronic artists fail: making you feel. With the Earth acting as his collection of found sounds, Reflections presents itself with a continuous theme of ambient oblivion, held together neatly by a strong sense of environmental recording.

As the opener, 'Mojave Desert' is simply the wind blowing back and forth, but then a gentle touch of ambient keyboards lands the listener in a total hippie freakout on 'Silurian Blue'. 'Silurian Blue' is an absolute gem, falling somewhere between a lost Pink Floyd B-Side and a Wooden Shjips outtake. The force of nature can be felt on 'Silurian Blue', capturing a sonic collection of dramatic guitar bends, off-tuned organs, and synchronized drum fills. As the faux Lysergics wear off by the end of the track, the following 'Kites' returns to the state of quiet minimalism, with scaling keyboards and a sudden freak out, Shepherd makes an attempt to render and shift your train of thought, and is successful in the process.

While the following track 'Kelso Dunes' is a steady, albeit spare approach, Shepherd flashes his innocuous spirit by avoiding singular climaxes, and instead includes a constant deliverance of mini climaxes, each felt between every transition Reflections has to offer. This sense of spareness washes out any comparisons to modern electronica, as Shepherd boasts both a higher level of self awareness as he does western esotericism, combining ideologies of electro-obscurity and the American hippie movement, circa 1969.

At its peak, Reflections - Mojave Desert is a triumphant artistic feat, proving that the world around us has as many sounds to offer as a simple keyboard, drum pad, or computer could ever have. With a release drowning in possibilities, Floating Points' latest is a humbling work of art, ridden in environmental discoveries, alongside an empowering sense of mental stability. By no means is this an album capable of changing the world, but rather, showing off what the world really has to offer.