Percussions - 2011 Until 2014

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  • Even heard out of context, the Percussions tracks would give you a good idea about the man behind the moniker—their bottomed out, shuffling percussion, their heat-dizzy synths, the almost choral mirage of their samples. Kieran Hebden's work has often had a first-dawn glow, whether with post-rock outfit Fridge, in his early albums as Four Tet, or even in the ghostly pirate radio emissions of 2013's Beautiful Rewind. Between 2012 and 2014, he released three 12-inches as Percussions on his own label, Text, that were ostensibly an attempt to release dance floor material under a different name. Now he's assembled those 12-inches with other music recorded around the same time and released it all through his Bandcamp. However familiar you are with these records, 2011 Until 2014 still feels like a considered release. Though it maintains Hebden's intention to make floor-focussed music, there's a fluidity to the album that makes it feel like more than a compilation. You can hear it in how the two-step soul of "Blatant Water Cannon" is rearranged with more bruising concrete-block percussion, and in the eerie central melody of "Sext." Or in how the opener, "February 2014," with its snowy samples and light-footed percussive breaks, serves as a soft entry-point. Likewise, the very short "March 2013" lets the album gain speed slowly, with a central melody that sounds submerged in warm water. For the most part, the as-yet-unheard tracks are deftly shaped around the singles to round the compilation into something that works as a single entity. All that said, it would be worthwhile to simply have all these tracks available in one place. Much of the Percussions material stands with Hebden's best output over the last few years. With its African percussion and chirpy bird samples, "Bird Songs" is a glorious exercise in weird peak-time stomp, while "KHLHI" is a distorted, carved-up bit of enchanted deep house. "Ascii Bot" could have been a coda to 2012's excellent Pink, with a kosmische synth melody that slowly winds itself around another winter-warm vocal sample. "Rabbit Songs," though, may be the most enticing floor-filler. Strange, snarling noises introduce a beat that recalls Paul Simon's "Cecilia" before several other drum circles clatter around the edges. As the bass blurs across the drums, the percussive chaos is somehow both sun-lit and hidden in darkness. It's a stark reminder of how Hebden continues to evolve 16 years into his career.
  • Tracklist
      01. February 2014 02. March 2013 03. Blatant Water Cannon 04. Sext 05. October 2011 06. KHLHI 07. November 2011 08. Bird Songs 09. Rabbit Songs 10. Ascii Bot 11. January 2014