Review: Four Tet – Pink
Published on October 4th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Kieran Hebden’s sixth studio album as Four Tet rubber-stamps his return to the dancefloor, and thank goodness for that because it’s an area in dire need of inspiration and ingenuity, each of which this chap exudes in spades.
While not quite the synaesthetic feast of 2005’s Everything Ecstatic LP, Pink does a fine job of weaving psychedelic dreams through what would otherwise be relatively prosaic nightclub fodder. Opener “Locked” has a crumply, crinkly rhythm section that’s deceptively quick-stepping of gait; it builds from a slyly bendy electric piano lick into wibbly pink (yes!) synthery that works as a splendid counterpart to the ominously rising melodic progression beneath it, a baton of foreboding picked up by the heaving foghorn-y bass of the ensuing “Lion”.
One of two tracks in the album not to have already been released as a 12-inch single – “Peace for Earth” being the other – “Lion” punctuates its pounding kick-drum with glaring snare and a series of melodically manipulated clicks. Syncopated window-squeaks appear then disappear, before the whole thing becomes a jumbled jungle of clacking thumb pianos, and a surprisingly tuneful one at that.
“Jupiters” elevates its sparse atmospherics with all manner of popping, rustling and bubbling, while the bloody marvellous “Ocoras” places ravey stabs of felty synth – or felty stabs of ravey synth, we’re not sure – over something approaching a straight house beat. It’s a compelling nocturnal strut that’s liable to get your head bopping, your pupils dilating and, with the introduction of Whac-A-Mole arpeggios and ringing sci-fi interference, your brain scrambling.
“128 Harps” and “Pyramid” stage a Ready Steady Cook contest out of snatches of vocal samples, the former firing a steady round of yelpers over a twinkly, vaguely creepy shuffle, the latter simply piling them on top of each other over another slyly house-y rhythm, the combination of real and digitally recreated voices summoning the otherworldliness that Hebden deploys with a little more restraint than his peers, but with no less flair.
The eleven-minute “Peace on Earth” begins with wispy, wibbly Richard D. James Album-esque synthery, acquiring a gentle fizz as it forms what Rocksucker feels moved to describe as an ice cream float à la ’90s Warp Records. Its twinkly, glacial droplets fall like psychedelic rain, utterly hypnotic and oddly welcoming, before closing track “Pinnacles” demands that you bop to its pangs of piano, rumbling acoustic bass and reprise of of those bendy, wailing keyboard notes. It shuffles along, accumulating colours as it goes, and deposits us back to reality with all the loving grace of an electronic deity.
Well, godliness might be taking things a bit too far, but if there was an electronic Mount Olympus then we’d like to think that Four Tet would be reclining with some grapes on it somewhere.
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!
Pink is out now on Text Records. For more information, please visit www.fourtet.net