The records that Kieran Hebden makes as Four Tet always have moments that please me but Beautiful Rewind is the first one I’ve really got hooked on – as, I guess, an experience. There were a couple of wonderful tracks on There Is Love In You, I still return to those, but never seem to stick around for the rest of the record, but Beautiful Rewind is my new favourite late-night-stroll album on the iPod. Or if I’m not out with the headphones then it’s certainly still my favourite late-night-scroll album – getting a lot of air time with its strange, beguiling mix of been there before haven’t we? Moments from dance music and electronica, merged with fresh wasn’t expecting THAT bits.
So when this trim 40 minute outing concludes with Your Body Feels it’s the only time on the record where if feels to me like Four Tet might be repeating itself. But that’s (kinda) okay, it’s perhaps to serve as a reminder-notice: this was Four Tet you were listening to.
Because you wouldn’t (quite) get that from the way the opener, Gong, explodes, a mash/mess of spoken samples and tinkering percussion, it sounds like Santa’s workshop’s having a wee rave. The jungle starter gives way to a hip-hop hint with Parallel Jalebi, and then some of dubstep’s wooziness gets injected into other tracks, like the house-meets-Eno Our Navigation.
Kool FM is a bit of the ole’ big beat sliced and diced, Crush does Flying Lotus-via-Burial and Buchla is (just a bit) like the Daft Punk of old, but only if newly reimagined.
It’s a trippy wee album – the highlight arrives just towards the end, with Aerial; its synthy bass a spirally spree, drums tumble in and around what might actually just be an iPhone app that’s framing it all. And then, when two songs on, Unicorn arrives as a sort of muted coda to this track, well I can’t be sure it’s not something my two year old has made with an iPhone app. But that doesn’t mean it’s not good. And it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t also be (favourably) compared to Lapalux an Oneohtrix Point Never.
I get to the end of this album and I’ve loved the journey – every time. A few old stomping grounds, some new alleyways to explore. And, I reckon, the best (complete) Four Tet album so far. A lovely wee swirl of sound.