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4 Tet: Three Album Evaluate

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Some performers begin enjoying it secure when the phases get larger. Not Kieran Hebden—higher referred to as 4 Tet—the heady, tasteful, crate-digging producer who has taken his new arena-sized crowds as a chance to confound, delight, and troll. Behind the decks, there’s no transfer that’s taboo, no monitor that’s off-limits. A decade in the past, that meant elevating eyebrows by going back-to-back within the sales space with Skrillex, Now that he and Sonny Moore have grow to be an Odd Throuple with Fred once more.., the BFFs’ B2B2Bs are Hebden’s alternative to additional subvert no matter you may need thought 4 Tet is meant to sound like. At Madison Sq. Backyard, he dropped a mischievous minimal-house edit of Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” that he’d cobbled collectively for his daughter. At Coachella, he used the intro to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” because the setup to an absurdist punchline: Hol!’s “Nation Riddim,” a dubstep anthem that includes a cartoonishly garish drop. (Hebden loves that tune: On the trio’s shock Occasions Sq. gig in February 2023, he unleashed the tune once more—after which spun it again to the highest of the drop, simply to savor its ridiculousness.)

However nevertheless unpredictable Hebden may be on stage, on file he’s as dependable as they arrive. Three is his twelfth solo album, give or take—the proliferation of dwell recordings, early-works anthologies, shadowy facet initiatives, and experimental longform excursions complicates the depend—and it embodies all the pieces that has come to outline 4 Tet through the years. There are shuffling UK storage rhythms and moonlit swimming pools of ambient, heavy-lidded head-nodders and floor-filling rave-ups, hand-carved breakbeats and harps, harps, and extra harps.

Just a few years again, I discovered 4 Tet’s consistency on his albums irritating; I longed for him to change issues up, throw the occasional wrench within the works. I puzzled, with 2020’s Sixteen Oceans, if he was getting boxed in by his system. However on Three, the familiarity is welcome. The file is much less experimental than 2020’s Parallel, which collected the 2-stepping membership tracks and atmospheric experiments of his alias ⣎⡇ꉺლ༽இ•̛)ྀ◞ ༎ຶ ༽ৣৢ؞ৢ؞ؖ ꉺლ. However the trim, eight-track album is neatly sequenced and properly different, taking in just about each model of music that Hebden’s made through the years—home, downbeat, hip-hop, and extra, all given the customary 4 Tet slant. Most significantly, he sounds energized, as if all that mischief-making behind the decks had taught him new twists in outdated tips.

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