Text Records/Temporary Residence Ltd
Four Tet – aka Kieran Hebden – has released just over a half-dozen albums under his preferred moniker, then there’s collaborations and production work, mix albums, “solo” albums (under his birth name). And he’s in the middle of an exciting period, following up stints producing Neneh Cherry’s incredible “comeback” record and releasing his own wonderful Beautiful Rewind with this, a split affair as the title suggests, one side Morning one Evening.
I gushed about Beautiful Rewind, calling it Four Tet’s finest, but the Morning side of Morning/Evening is instantly a contender. It’s almost interpretive synaesthesia, the burst of colours that arrives, instantly, as Morning sparkles – and then an Indian voice takes the main focus of the piece, electronic clattering and skittering around it. It’s a reminder of how crucial voices have been in Four Tet’s work, and how his ideas work around the voice – it’s easy to see why he was the right producer to place Neneh Cherry front and centre while RocketNumberNine scattered and clattered and scuttled beneath and all around…a reminder too of how utterly redundant the idea (and scope) of the tagline “world” music is. They would never think to include this in that (fake) genre and yet this is an entire world of music. And more…
For over 20 minutes the Morning side of the record achieves that perfect spiritual drift – and then the flipside is Evening. It can’t quite compete, of course it’s not exactly trying to, rather its aim is to be the inverse. And its darkness and brooding electronic textures are fine, but it takes too long to mean anything much. The last eight minutes see a surge as the groove winds up and the now drum-heavy feel sees the electronic skirmishes peeking in and around the rhythm. It starts to feel like The Necks (particularly Drive-By) though more danceable. The problem is it never quite crushes, merely fades away.
But that’s a small complaint when, conceptually, this two-sider is so perfectly on. It’s essentially an A+ for side one, A- for side two. That’s still better than most will ever achieve, and the peak of the emotional resonance here still has me thinking that – for some moments, anyway – this is Four Tet’s (new) finest.