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Four Tet

[ Domino Records / CD ]

Release Date: Monday 9 June 2003

This item is only available to us via Special Order. We should be able to get it to you in 3 - 6 weeks from when you order it.

Beautiful, sparse, laidback instrumental electronica from London-based Kieran Hebden

"What gives this record its internal order, and makes it stand out over previous laptop explorations of immense record collections, is the simplicity of the other genres that he dabbles and draws upon to flesh out the beat." - 8.5/10 Pitchfork Media

A sample-based solo outlet for the labyrinthine aural concerns of Kieran Hebden, Four Tet stakes claims on musical territory that even his main squeeze, the famously exploratory three-piece Fridge had yet to map.

First released on Trevor Jackson's (Playgroup) Output label, Hebden's first solo album Dialogue brought to light the hidden connections between the ephemeral worlds of krautrock and afrobeat, juju and jazz. Adopting an intuitive approach to cyborg sound, Hebden secured the mood-miners and the beat diggers Holy Grail: an authentically organic mix.

In formulating his Domino debut Pause, Hebden offered a rustic response to the sampladelic voodoo, a root and branch revision of past work that pursued the natural in unanticipated ways. This new path took a green way through electronica, alternately sun dappled and autumn crisp, a lovingly crafted lattice of sparkling acoustic guitars, fleeting field recordings and faltering, fitful street level beats that chimed with the refreshed interest in folk and delighted jaded ears. The new sounds struck a nerve; Four Tet has become one of the most respected producers in the UK, having remixed countless contemporary stars, including Beth Orton, Badly Drawn Boy, David Holmes, Notwist, Cinematic Orchestra and many more. Along with Manitoba, Four Tet leads the charge in the newest hybrid of instrumental electronica with a sunny folk twist and a hip hop attitude.

Rounds sees Hebden shucking off the juvenile tendency to artfully reinterpret one's, in his case, admittedly mindboggling, depth of influences. Rounds is the album where he beautifully, uniquely comes into his own. Beautiful and unconventional, and Herbert-like in its production values. Recommended.

"If Four Tet, aka London-based Kieran Hebden added vocals to his entirely instrumental second album, Rounds, he would be as famous as Groove Armada.

Rounds sounds like the sort of laidback electronica which would accompany the likes of Beth Orton but for even the sweetest voice to croon over this album's ten tunes would spoil it's natural beauty. Rounds is akin to a remote, idyllic beach, the location of which is only known to you and a select number of your mates. But there's something quite pastoral and very English about Four Tet and I can see why it has been released on the eve of the British summer, although it is also the perfect accompaniment to a balmy Kiwi winter.

Four Tet has been compared by some critics to Aphex Twin but Richard James has rarely made anything so tuneful and his fellow Warp Records label-mates, Boards of Canada are a better comparison. Rounds' sparseness brings to mind minimal techno but most ambient artists do not possess his gift for melody.

Stand out tracks include Hands, She Moves She, the more upbeat My Angel Rocks Back and Forth and the dubby last number, Slow Jam. Guess I'll have to track down Four Tet's elusive debut album now."
- Stephen Jewell


1. Hands
2. She Moves She
3. First Thing
4. My Angel Rocks Back & Forth
5. Spirit Fingers
6. Unspoken
7. Chia
8. As Serious As Your Life
9. And They All Look Broken Hearted
10. Slow Jam