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04'06 INTERVIEW
Mountains Interview
Mountaigns

Nightmares On Wax Interview
Nightmares On Wax

Trunk Records Interview
Trunk Records

04'06 FEATURES
Biosphere / Egbert Mittelstädt live
Biosphere / Egbert Mittelstädt Live

03'06 INTERVIEW
Jimmy Edgar Interview
Jimmy Edgar

Clark Interview
Clark

04'06 REVIEWS
Luigi Archetti
Bird Show
Caroline
Depth Affect
Dextro
Dictaphone
Glissandro 70
Kieran Hebden & Steve Reid
International Peoples Gang
Izu
Kyler
Loka
Lionel Marchetti
Miller + Fiam
Matmos
Modern Institute
Same Actor
Thomas Strønen
Terrestrial Tones
Uniform
Vizier Of Damascus
Zeebee

04'06 COMPILATIONS
Pop Ambient

04'06 SHORT CUTS
Alog
Christ.
Fisk Industries
Winter North Atlantic
Chin Chin

 
   
   
   
 
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FOUR TET
Rounds

WIGCD126
Domino Recording Co 2003
10 Tracks. 45mins29secs

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When Kieran Hebden released his second Four Tet album, Pause, two years ago, he certainly got more than he bargained for. Follow up to his solo debut, Dialogue, this second album took him far away from his guitar duty in post-rock combo Fridge, as he was called to promote it and play all over the world for nearly the whole of 2001. After returning to Fridge for a bit, and following a highly successful tour with the band, as well as some more solo live performances, including a support slot for Radiohead in Spain and Portugal, Kieran returns to his successful Four Tet project with this third album.
Kieran formed Fridge in 1996 with a couple of college mates. Hailing from Putney, South London, the trio soon imposed their sound, a mixture of art-rock and electronica, with a series of critically acclaimed EPs and albums. Shying away from the limelight, the band voluntarily played complex music, pushing boundaries in many directions to expand their sonic realm up to the magnificent Happiness, released in the autumn of 2001. Hebden also started experimenting with machines for his own benefit. His two first singles as Four Tet, Thirtysixtwentyfive (a Fridge-esque title refering to the length of the EP), and Misnomer, were both NME single of the week, and the subsequent album, Dialogue, released on Trevor Jackson’s Output Recordings label, got a very warm reception from both press and public. Mixing elements of jazz and soul, Hebden defined a very strong musical identity, further developed on Pause a couple of years later. Pause was also introducing some more laidback and complex ambiences as Hebden widened his musical scope by introducing some elements of folk, R&B, hip-hop and psychedelic pop. Combining musicality and relative abstraction, the album was bringing electronic purists and post-rock devotees together.
If Pause was taking the Four Tet sound in new directions, Rounds sees Hebden perfecting his style. ‘This record has a 2am lonely feeling, because that was largely when it was made, on my own, in my little flat’ does he declare. Focussing on emotional content rather than on technicality has allowed him great freedom in the way he contemplates his influences. Although the ten tracks of Rounds demonstrate a good sense of sound organisation, Hebden chooses to concentrate on the musical aspect of his compositions rather than on their atmospheric characteristics. It is not to say that his tracks are devoid of any atmosphere altogether. Quite the opposite in fact as Hands, which opens the album, She Moves She, the beautiful nine-and-a-half-minute epic Unspoken or As Serious As Your Life prove again and again. Yet, it feels as if the moods are the unexpected consequence of his musical wanderings.
Close to the vision of his friend Dan Snaith, better known as Manitoba, Hebden’s interpretation of electronic music goes far beyond the classic assumption that it has to sound utterly artificial. Using a wide range of samples, he creates the illusion that everything was recorded live, yet every single track is the result of a meticulous assemblage of various elements processed on a computer, from pianos and guitars to drums and effects. Often voluntarily breaking up his musical themes and rhythmic sections to give more definitions to his compositions, he also knows when to let a melody develop, as on the beautiful and melancholic And They All Look Broken Hearted, definitely one of the highlights here.
As intricate and thought out as it might be, Four Tet’s music actually feels very spontaneous and organic, and this third album is very likely to establish further Kieran Hebden’s status as a major artist with a very strong musical personality.

4.6/5

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TRACKLIST

Hands
She Moves She
First Thing
My Angel Rocks Back & Forth
Spirit Fingers
Unspoken
Chia
As Serious As Your Life
And They All Look Broken Hearted
Slow Jam

FOUR TET / KIERAN HEBDEN Discography

THE SURFER'S GUIDE TO FOUR TET
Four Tet
Domino Records
Output Recordings Ltd
Posteverything
Fridge

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