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Four Tet, "Ringer"

On this four track, half hour-ish EP, Kieran Hebden has created something that is for all intents and purposes, techno.  We in the field of music criticism hate such simplistic descriptions, and especially one such as that with some unintentionally pejorative connotations, but this is something that could easily get asses shaking at the disco or wherever the kids go to dance these days.  But, for all its 4/4 thumping, it is also an amazingly complex piece of programming and composition that is just as well suited for deep, headphone-centric analysis.



Four Tet

The bleepy repetitive synth sequence that opens “Ringer” would, with its simple but catchy hook that seems to go on and on, be the perfect thing for someone who just took some E to fall in love with if it was blaring out of an overamped club PA.  Listening to the same thing through a pair of headphones, I hear a complex world of subtleties and nuances that could easily slip by without listening attentively, but for those who care, the micro-melodies and tones are fascinating.

Both “Ribbons” and “Swimmer” are a bit more beat focused alongside the bleeps and beeps of synths, and the drum machine programming is every bit as complex, with the rhythms shifting and changing throughout.  The closer “Wing Body Wing” goes more for full on rhythms, while the preceding tracks lent a greater attention to melody.  The vast palette of percussion drawn upon for this track is almost dizzying, with its techno thump counterbalanced by synthetic tribal polyrhythms and complex breaks. 

Rarely is this kind of music satisfying on both the physical and intellectual level:  people rarely listen closely to the work from the multitude of boring DJs who make “club” music, nor does anyone really pop ‘n’ lock to Autechre on a Saturday night.  This EP, however, could appeal to both demographics in ways that most others couldn’t.