Four Tet - There Is Love in You

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  • To be honest, I think I might have been ruined by the Moth/Wolf Cub 12-inch. As much as I love Four Tet, the jazz-structure percussion and the lack of a real "good part" has often kept him from being a 10 for me. The injection of Burial's economical drum programs and sharp eye for haunting hooks is what made that 2009 team-up so goddamn marvelous. There Is Love in You, however, is a Four Tet record—Cable sans Deadpool. You know what you're in for—liltingly disjoint vocal snips, synth burbles, musique concréte shuffles, clacks and clinks, jazz-structure percussion, minimal low end. It's a clear formula that's served Kieren Hebden through five previous LPs and a galaxy of remixes. On this LP, he eschews some of the circular structure that defined Everything Ecstatic and the aptly-named Rounds in favor of a more linear add-a-new-instrument-every-four-bars plan. He retains a bit of the nonlinear depth by stacking loops of unequal length so they slide over one another at an uneven pace, recalling and recombining each other. It's a bit of a headfuck, but if you dig "My Angel Rocks Back and Forth," you'll dig it. Album highlight "Sing" nicks an infectious Mario Bros. coin sound and marries it to a Björk-esque wail, wraps the whole thing in soft transporter-room ambience and serves it up nearly bass-free. Who can blame Hebden if he lets the contraption run a smidge too long? It's charming. For the most part, the album fills out with chiming, if forgettable material such as "This Unfolds." As a track it's meh, but as an example of nuanced processing applied to live drumming, it's tops—Hebden's knob twisting has flattened the kick-snare pattern out to the sound of marbles bouncing about inside a cardboard box. Pretty finisher "She Just Likes to Fight" can scarcely be called electronic—it's mostly acoustic music stitched together with electronic means—like 99% of recorded music we hear. But Tet has such a delicate hand with the scissors, needle and thread that the track plays like a Fennesz cut that somebody taped over a forgotten Vini Reilly guitar sketch. The ostensible single, "Love Cry," is also the album's biggest misstep, though it's entirely forgivable. The macroscopic design isn't at fault—it's Tet's micro selection of parts that brings the track down. With an MOR soul-ish sample, a boring bass buzz and a drum kit that ventures a little too far into Thievery Corporation real estate, it just leaves that thrown-together '90s flavor in your mouth. But sometimes the throwback-ism works really well, too, as in "Angel Eyes," an effervescent wisp of a track that recalls the skyward exhilaration each one of you reading this (probably) experienced when you first heard an Underworld track. Remember when you felt like you were part of an actual generation with a collective ethos and good UK techno made you want to go jogging in the rain? Well, it's like that.
  • Tracklist
      01. Angel Echoes 02. Love Cry 03. Circling 04. Pablo's Heart 05. Sing 06. This Unfolds 07. Reversing 08. Plastic People 09. She Just Likes to Fight