Today, amidst some scrolling around at work – read ‘procrastination’, and guess what kind – appeared some exciting news: Four Tet had released a new album the previous evening to celebrate the summer solstice. Even better, it’s available in full on band camp. The following listening experience was a much needed kiss of life.
Just like you, I’m sure, we at the Limo keep a close eye on Kieran Hebden’s activity. He’s obviously hyperactive, producing for other artists (Omar Souleyman, Neneh Cherry…), making remixes, releasing tracks under his alias (Percussions, Burial) so we have never gotten bored of him, and you can rely on him to be pretty original.
His latest album released in 2014, Beautiful Rewind, also took us by surprise. Playing with minimalism and old school, we were left wondering if he wasn’t taking the piss a little bit… But then we found ourselves creeping back for more and more. And then when you get it under your skin, you find some of his tracks have the effect on us that, say, little sparkly beads of dew in a Japanese bamboo forest would. Something magical, curiously timeless.
His new album, Morning/Evening, is not groundbreaking whilst breaking all the rules at the same time. Composed of 2 tracks of about 20 minutes each, he is experimental yet mainstream, tender yet surprising, a bit like Caribou and Jamie XX . It’s a sound palette that is immediately pleasurable for the listener but that still challenges conventional musical routes.
So, where were we? Oh yes, magic. And yes, the first track “Morning” is clearly the very sound of magic. Almost verging on being simplistic – a little, woody beat that never really evolves, a sample of indian music, discreet chords accompanied by unsynchronised synthesiser bleeps – the overall effect is that of a love potion for the soul. Ultimately, it’s an entrancing track without really entirely revealing itself, vaguely reminiscent of Brian Eno’s old ambient tracks. Nevertheless, the binary beat is not for moving the feet, but the soul.
The second track, “Evening”, starts where “Morning” left us – rhythmless and weightless, amongst a haze of hindu chants – but with a stronger sense of purpose. The music unfolds and in the last few minutes, an energetic beat comes in, turning our heads towards a final glimpse of the starlit sky, as we disappear back into an industrial techno padded hangar.
And there you have it. It could have been some annoying little track, but instead the guy has saved our day… and what’s left of the week seeing as it’s been on repeat since.
The whole album will be available on vinyl from 10th July in a shop near you (and if you don’t live near said ‘shop’, you can always just buy some crisps and a video game to keep you entertained).