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Pharoah Sanders, Floating Points’ Album ‘Promises’ to Soundtrack New Film

Promises: Through Congress will pair acclaimed album with filmed exploration of Julie Mehretu’s 2003 painting, Congress

Eric Welles-Nyström*

The acclaimed new album Promises from jazz great Pharoah Sanders, electronic musician Floating Points, and the London Symphony Orchestra will be part of a new film that explores artist Julie Mehretu’s 2003 painting, Congress.

The film, Promises: Through Congress, will premiere virtually April 24th at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT via the Whitney in New York and the Broad in Los Angeles. Registration for the premiere is free and open on the websites of both museums.

The film, directed by Trevor Tweeten, comes after portions of Congress — which is a large, 72- x 96-inch ink and acrylic on canvas piece — were featured on the cover of Promises. Tweeten filmed the movie at the Broad this winter, and a trailer shows how the slow camera pans over the sprawling canvas pair with Sanders and Floating Points’ own expansive musical work.

Mehretu’s work was a major inspiration for Floating Points (real name Sam Shepard) during the making of Promises, with the musician saying in a statement, “I wanted to perpetuate this idea of being centered in the middle of the painting with its details swirling around you and this film is an extrapolation of that idea, of being in the middle of this perfect storm which only slowly reveals itself.”

Mehretu, who will introduce the film when it premieres, added: “It is an immense honor to be in the orbit of this brilliant, mesmerizing and transformative album composed by Sam Shepard, with one of the living legends of music, Pharoah Sanders. It feels like both a balm and a calling of this precarious, vertiginous time.”

Congress is part of the collection at the Broad and will be featured alongside other Mehretu paintings in an exhibit opening in May. A mid-career survey of Maehretu’s work is showing at the Whitney through August 8th.

From Rolling Stone US