Review: Given that Four Tet's recent 0181 LP was comprised of material from Kieran Hebden's archives, and last year's Pink was largely compiled of tracks from the previous 18 months of 12" releases, it seems fair to say that Beautiful Rewind is his first proper album since 2010's There Is Love In You, and as such, it arrives with some degree of expectation. The past few years have seen the producer engage increasingly with the dancefloor, and these rhythms are most definitely present across the LP, particularly in the jungle breaks of "Kool FM", pirate radio-influenced techno of "Buchla" and hesitant dubstep style rhythms of "Parallel Jalebi". For the most part however Beautiful Rewind is as varied as the likes of Rounds and There Is Love In You, with the minimalist kosmische of "Ba Teaches Yoga", analogue gurgles of "Crush" and dawn chorus sounds of closer "Your Body Feels" all as beautiful as his most enduring tracks.
Review: We're not going to lie - it's always super-exciting when a new Four Tet record drops and even more so when it's been pretty much unannounced. Here, our main man Kieran Hebden has unearthed a collection of jams dating back to the late 90s and early 00s - back in the days of the 0181 greater London telephone code, but these electronic excursions are in no way a reference to the past and in fact, they sound damn near futuristic. In all honesty, this is basically a livejam mix of Hebden's unreleased material, a near 40 minutes of dreamy harmonics and cutting-edge drum breaks, soaring to depths and highs of all sorts - jazzy vibes, peaks of electronica and much more. Giving you a detailed account of the affair just wouldn't do it justice, there's simply too much musical diversity and sonic experimentation right here, but, what we will tell you is that this release contains all the ingredients which make Four Tet's music so brilliant. A must have.
Review: Released back in August, "Kool FM" was Four Tet's ode to pirate radio and laid down a suitable primer for what to expect from his LP Beautiful Rewind. After the single comes the remix! If you've taken a walk through the content farm, listened to the Hessle Rinse show or seen a Four Tet DJ set in recent months you should be more than familiar with both remixes here. The first remix from Butterz lad Champion is an exercise in simple dancefloor mathematics, implementing the kind of deranged bass line that destroys crowds and demands rewinds. A recent interview with Container revealed the U.S. noise/techno experimentalist to be a big fan of Frak and you can certainly hear their influence on his accompanying remix of "Kool FM" which retains mere remnants of Hebden's original - the distortion from the 2:30 mark onwards is particularly edifying.
Review: The "Jupiters" remixes are finally available on digital format and this time it's a strictly UK affair, with Happa and Jamie XX on remix duties! Happa's re-interpretation of "Jupiters" is a thumping beast of a track, where a startling bass drum churns its way across a militant percussion - violent hi-hats and snares all round, coated graciously by the most ominous synth stabs to have ever appeared on a Four Tet record! Jamie XX's take on "Lion" is a calmer, sub-heavy parade of swinging drums and mutating bass lines, growing in ferocity with every new bar.
Review: Primarily comprised of previously vinyl-only tracks released by Kieran Hebden on his own Text imprint over the past 18 months, you'd be forgiven for wondering if Pink should be treated as a proper Four Tet album or not. The answer is an emphatic yes; although several of these tracks are more dancefloor focused than we've seen previously, the melodies and textures are unmistakably Hebden. "Locked" for instance has the loose rhythmic structure and bass weight of dubstep but the kind of acoustic textures of his Rounds era material, while "Lion" combines Border Community style minimal techno with the unmistakable Hebden glockenspiel. "Jupiters" experiments with swung garage beats in an unmistakably UK Bass style, while "128 Harps" is a whipcrack MPC workout given his light melodic touch and "Peace On Earth" is a beatless 11 minutes of analogue kosmische. But it's the centrepiece of Hebden's Fabriclive mix, the brilliantly moody "Pyramid", and the loose limbed jazz-house of "Pinnacles" that really set this album apart from his other long-playing efforts, two examples of timeless dance music which demonstrate why after nearly 15 years in the game Hebden is only improving with age.
Review: If you were judging Kieran Hebden's 11th Four Tet studio album merely on the way it's presented, you'd immediately think he'd spent the last two years immersed in early '90s ambient house albums. While it's unlikely he's done that, it's fair to say that New Energy does owe a debt to classic electronica sets from that period. For all the exotic instrumentation and subtle nods to post-dubstep "aquacrunk" experimentalism and chiming, head-in-the-clouds sunrise house, the album feels like a relic of a lost era. That's not meant as a criticism - New Energy is superb - but it is true that his choice of neo-classical strings, gentle new age melodies, sweeping synthesizer chords and disconnected vocal samples would not sound out of place on a Global Communication album.
Review: Featuring Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet) on production duties and Radiohead's Colin Greenwood on bass, Into The Trees is the Chicago-based folk singer Kathryn Bint's second album for the Text imprint run by the aforementioned Hebden. The sedate, folky dreamscapes within are undoubtedly helped along with Hebden's hands, especially on the minimal analogue accompaniment of "Bloom" and slightly skewed acoustic textures of "Simmer Down Simmer", but ultimately it's Bint's beguiling vocal charm that will win over the staunchest folk sceptics.