Four Tet – There Is Love In You
Kieran Hebden’s work under the Four Tet moniker has always freely blended both the welcoming and the difficult sides of electronic music, but on 2010’s There Is Love In You, he mixes the two more seamlessly than ever before. For instance, look at how the hazy, hypnotic vocal samples on “Angel Echoes” hovers over a sparse music box melody or how standout “Sing” builds from a glitchy synth pulse to a collage of sound then breaks away just as quickly without ever losing focus. But compared to his last album, 2005’s busy Everything Ecstatic, the music here is, for the most part, rather simple, only working off a few layers. Pianos, guitars, found sounds, electronic manipulations, vocals, and percussion all make their appearances but seem to be added only when absolutely necessary. There’s a difference between “simple” and “simplistic,” however, and Hebden manages to wring a surprising amount of depth and resonance from his arrangements. “Love Cry” is one of the most memorable moments: nine minutes of rhythmic hum and buzz bolstered almost entirely by just a drum and vocal track. Meanwhile, “Circling” floats along on swirling keyboard figures, and closer “She Just Likes To Fight” ends the album optimistically with a shimmering guitar loop and jangling percussion. What helps make There Is Love In You such a success, though, is that it immediately satisfies but reveals a richness as it unveils all of its off-kilter experiments with each subsequent listen. Experimental electronic music rarely sounds this inviting, and this album is all the more engrossing because of it.