Abstract Earth Project presents Four Tet
Written by Sean Mahan on August 6, 2014
Four Tet (Kieran Hebden) is known for his dense electronica, injected with a strong vein of jungle beats and lively rhythms. The London-based producer collects music, more specifically samples which he incorporates to his sets in a form of little snippets of carefully curated melody with sample-heavy house that occasionally veers into proper techno territory. It is never been difficult to appreciate a Four Tet record, with Beautiful Rewind, its predecessor Pink, and his mix for the Fabriclive series, all being released over the last four years, it feels like he is been making a conscious effort to make us dancing.
Over the past decade, the club scene has appealed naturally to Hebden’s layered tracks, jazz-inspired, sometimes trancelike compositions, with the capacity to incite busy physical motion. His DJing –to which Hebden has devoted himself since the Plastic People residency that directly inspired 2010’s There Is Love In You album- shares much with his love of improvised music. It can be described as reactive and intuitive, involving reciprocal feedback between artist and environment. Hebden does seem to possess to a certain innate feel for dance music with house and garage rhythms gathered from a detailed sample collage process while retaining their characteristically melodic focus. And his vision of melody is intricate but unfussy, possessed of low-end heft but wary of overproduction.
Anyone who has been to a Four Tet show can attest to its odd power. The way he does a live set is fun to watch: while most DJs using Ableton might be tempted just to launch clip after clip, he manually blends them using a mixer, supplementing the tracks by using the second computer as a sample launcher and a glitch machine. His sets start slow, building with layer upon layer of samples before morphing into his uniquely hypnotizing brand of dance music. Though never quite reaching the intensity of modern EDM, he makes live electronic sets feel organic and human, just like he does with his music.