Four Tet

There Is Love In You

I mean, really – don’t you just hate marketeers? Granted, in these recessionary times recruitment consultants have become the estate agents of the early 21st century but marketeers are relentless, bloodless breed unto themselves. Where to start with this bunch? Well, how about the self-satisfied Smart Alecs responsible for the endless repackaging of dance culture and their new wheeze: dance music for every occasion. Witness the appearance of the cynically thrown together compilation Running Tracks, a 3-CD package of music designed to help you lose weight by soundtracking the exercise you’d promised yourself through the blur of New Year’s day hangover. The problem, of course, is that the January diet, along with the cardiovascular activity, has gone with every good intention that you had. Still, at least you’ve got some toe-tapping choons as you make your way from the sofa to the fridge for another bit of chocolate.

Or how about the re-packaging of early 80s synthpop as the genesis of modern dance music? It’s not unlike honking up a particularly delicious gourmet meal and reserving it with a slice of pineapple as garnish. At this rate, we’re not too far from the release of Music To Blow Your Beans To: 20 Stroking Classics.

So it’s with a sense of relief and no little joy that Four Tet’s fifth – and, quite probably, best – album arrives to the save the day. A cause for unfurling the bunting? Quite probably but you’d be better off turning the volume up and treating yourself to the stimulant of your choice.

What Kieran Hebden has achieved here is a wonderfully coherent journey that really does demand consumption in its entirety. The old argument concerning dance music used to opine that music aimed at short and sharp thrills couldn’t be sustained by a single artist within the confines of an album, but as countless of artists have displayed over the years, this palpable nonsense. Having spent the last five years collaborating with a variety of artists including free-jazz drummer Steve Reid, Bond composer David Arnold and the not-so-anonymous Burial, Hebden knows the value of relying on his own identity and making sure that he maintains your undivided attention throughout. That’s why he’s made it thus far.

On paper, the cut-up techniques and stuttering pulses of opener ‘Angel Echoes’ may sound like something that defies listening, but the end result is utterly beguiling and not too far from resembling a post-orgasmic Orbital circa Snivilisation.

Likewise, the initially sustained menace of the epic ‘Love Cry’ has little problem in throwing off its shackles and giving itself over to complete and total pleasure. But it’s important to note that there are also layers upon layers at work here too and not some ham-fisted attempts at aiming for the lowest common denominator. Witness the delightfully shuffling “This Unfolds” which really does do what it says on the tin. Betraying it’s mid 70s German influences, this nonetheless is an exquisite example blending beats and bliss and it sits perfectly within an album that rises and falls and pauses to take a breath before taking flight again.

The real clue is in the title and in this respect, There Is Love In You harks back to a time of simpler, purer and more uncomplicated pursuits. It never forgets the value of melody and refuses to sacrifice this notion for the sake of relentless beats. This is an album to return to time and again and one that will doubtless be ubiquitous in those end-of-year round-ups we’ve just left behind.

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