“Groovy” is a ridiculous word at this point, but it might be the perfect descriptor for Floating Action’s music. The songs are beat-focused but dreamy, subtly mixing together reggae, soul, and funk. Seth Kauffman–the North Carolina multi-instrumentalist behind Floating Action–often starts with the rhythm when he’s building his songs, and unlike a lot of DIY producers, he doesn’t pile on a ton of sounds. He keeps things simple, like on the bass-and-beat heavy “So Vapor.” I first heard that song on a mixtape years ago, and at the time I could’ve sworn it was some lost ’70s dub concoction pulled from a Jamaican studio.
Kauffman has earned the love of fellow vintage experimenters like My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and Dr. Dog, but he’s still doing his own thing. Given the variety of sounds, Floating Action albums have always felt like old radio transmissions, and it’s even more explicit on this year’s double album Hold Your Fire. Otherworldly voices swirl through the sparse, humid funk of “Real Enough.” The title says it all: this song is just a step away from a ’60s soul single, and that’s what makes it stand out.
“Real Enough” appears on Hold Your Fire, out now. Floating Action plays the Mohawk on Saturday, June 11 with Rogue Wave.