There Is Love in You
My experience with Four Tet thus far has been limited to some of his Madvillain remixes and the odd single here and there. Sure the work was impressive, but I felt that as remixes they felt a bit forced. That is definitely not the case this time around as Four Tet delivers a brilliant and (dare I say) classic album in the downtempo electronic music genre.
It is shaping up to be a good year the old Electronic/Instrumental goodness. Look for three very different sort of albums to get recommended on the site this week (namely Blockhead's "The Music Scene", RJD2's "The Colossus"). But we'll kick off the instrumental party with the latest from Four Tet "There Is Love In You" and let me tell you that you can't help but feel some musical love deep within yourself after hearing this one. Four Tet = Magic.
The theme of the album is love - both in title and in emotional resonance. Take the standout opener "Angel Echos" with it's chopped up refrain of "There Is Love In You" and ability to make you think about ways you can love better as a person. You can tell that Four Tet had love in his heart when he made this track. It's an interesting approach of the slow build. A seemingly innocuous beat - nothing more than a constant pounding - that has layer after layer dropped in slowly; a few chimes here, some toy keyboards there, and then another beat and another element. It takes it's time to get where it needs to be. Like love itself, the song is ready when it's ready and not a moment sooner and then it just goes. No big build. No immediate payoff other than the slow anticipation of waiting. It's not often when you are left wanting more and still end up feeling satisfied.
This is followed up by the equally brilliant "Love Cry". Now here is a beat that means business. You need something to listen to late at night? When aren't you ready to let the day end? When you want more? Well, this is your soundtrack. The pounding beat will quicken your pulse and the mysterious melodic noises in the background that well very reminicient of a sound that your fridge might make help give the song atmosphere. Then, out of nowhere, a vocal sample repeating the words "Love Cry" that hits you like a cold shower. Unlike "Angel Echos", this one eventually gives you the delivery to the built up tension without losing the musical themes that got it there. The pressing backbeat never goes away and the song never allows itself to turn into a full-on discoteque affair although it definitely flirts with that line.
Other standouts include "Circling" (basic strings repeating some very soothing scales eventually fade into the background for some heavily synth keyboards that create a peaceful ambiance that continues onward as the bells and chimes lull you into a sense of peace) and "This Unfolds" (Where the bass seems almost "jokey" but when juxtaposed against the somber acoustic guitar it sort of transforms it into something real. Then the crazy electronic stuff comes in and it's magical. Seriously. Magical. Like fighting dragons and shit, only with how it makes you feel when you listen to it.)
Though I've only mentioned a few highlights here there are really no "low-lights" to be found. There's even a nod to the 8-bit fanatics in "Sing" (you had me at the chopped up 8-bit sample...Mario and Link are vibing to this one in my head). Sure the album is only a scant nine tracks (ok, really it's seven due to a couple of short interludes) but each and every one of them is magic.
For downtempo electronic music fans, I cannot recommend this enough because it is that good.
4.625 out of 5
|1. Angel Echoes (04:00)||5|
|2. Love Cry (09:13)||5|
|3. Circling (05:17)||5|
|4. Pablo's Heart (00:11)|
|5. Sing (06:48)||4|
|6. This Unfolds (07:55)||5|
|7. Reversing (02:40)||5|
|8. Plastic People (06:33)||4|
|9. She Just Likes to Fight (04:34)||4|