Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Four Tet: There Is Love in You (2010)



After a short-lived obsession with electronica as a teen -- before I found I had more to relate to in disco and synthpop -- I lost any awareness of the genre, so Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) is a somewhat new name for me. One thing that has happened since I was laying about with Exit Planet Dust on repeat is that I discovered Brian Eno and became enamored of the idea of ambient music that is a pleasure not just to hear but to actively listen to. Curiously for the sterile settings it evokes, Eno's Music for Airports has a comfortable, warm aura to me. I get the same feeling -- the collision of rollicking binaries and genuine soul -- from Four Tet.

This is also, of all things, dance music, but it's dance music that goes down sweetly. My girlfriend Amber says that "Sing" -- the second single -- sounds like "computers in the Arctic." But conversely, "Circles" (which I've included below) is robot romance; Hebden's beats, vibes, and strokes are welcoming and human, a pillow of subtle techno frenzy. There's as much going on in these songs -- even the allegedly repetitive selections like the first track, "Angel Echoes," which lends the disc its title -- as in any souped-up club hit, but the songs (and songs they are, distinctly) are intricate, layering and hiding their many details.

I can attest that you can move and shake and hop around to There Is Love in You, because we did earlier, but the first time I put it on I just sat and felt immersed. I don't have the world's best attention span, but Four Tet keeps me involved even when he leaps headfast into a shimmering seven-minute groove. He's accessible because he works hard to make this shit delicious on every level. The last track brings it together; "She Just Likes to Fight" is a waveringly pretty love song without words, evocative and bound to seduce. You don't have to love ambient music to find this album a fragile and absorbing delight.

(I have another Four Tet album, the renowned Rounds, but I have yet to listen to it; stay tuned!)


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