Four Tet - 0181, reviewed by Rocksucker 0181… 811 8181?

Review: Four Tet – 0181

Published on January 15th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams

(Type type type…sip coffee…type type type…sip coffee…type type type…whistle jovially yet aimlessly in the manner of a cartoon character swinging back and forth with their hands in his pockets…sip coffee…look at Twitter…)






Blimey. That’s the future, right there. Let’s have a listen to the thing, then.

Is Rocksucker being well fick or are there not any track titles? Just one thirty-eight-minute track? Anyway, it begins inside a dripping electronic cave, flourishes into the kind of synaesthetically popping ‘n’ clicking strut that Four Tet does so well, segues smoothly into a clearly different number characterised by ‘glacial synths’ – yes ‘glacial synths’ is a throbbing cliché but it still works, damn it – and rolling percussion.

So far so ace.

Ooh…bubbling electronic wilderness…sounds like a horse bolts past, then a bird flaps away…shimmering glowworms of sheer synthesised light burn brightly then flicker out…and some amazingly manipulated kind of twiddly math-melody stamps its mark on proceedings, in footballspeak.

“A whacking great big beat is here to see you,” announces the doorman at Rocksucker HQ. Ah, so it is. Do come in. Hmmm…it seems rather peculiar, but you do appear to have suddenly transformed into some sort of carnival-jazz shuffle. Is carnival-jazz a thing? It is now.

What’s that voice saying? “Dah dah dah”? “Der der der”? “Done done done”? “Dan Dan Dan”, like that bit in Alan Partridge? It goes all ambient and lovely, then into another sly nocturnal vibe: clarinets, jazz guitar, piano, organic percussion, a gently loping sort-of-trip-hop beat…the works.

It’s funny watching all the comments pop up as it goes on; watch the SoundCloud stream if you don’t know what we mean. “This is beautiful” says a user named Shitwave after 24 minutes, and to be fair he has a point; it has become quite the ambient ice palace of glittering, twinkling melody. For a little while there’s a delicious soft beat reminiscent of that of Aphex Twin’s “Iz-Us”, and then – yes this article might have used the word ‘then’ a few times by now, but that’s a hazard of live action reporting – then it’s disposed of for a rather more skanky (skankier?) proposotion, which welcomes aboard a sort-of-bluesy acoustic guitar lick and continues the laid-back, y’know, ‘vibe’.

Okay, that sounds like a perfectly tuned thumb piano. Is that even possible? Whatever it is, it tides things over very nicely indeed as strange noises gurgle, grate and slither away in the channels. Some kind of chirruping arpeggidrone, if you’ll allow us to coin such a thing, and then 0181 flutters off back into its own realm. Until the next time.

Only by this point have we googled it and learnt that it’s an LP’s worth of “vintage rarities”, which probably explains why it’s arrived a mere matter of months after his last album Pink. Still, splendid stuff as usual from Kieran Hebden, and poignant arriving so suddenly, so unexpectedly and so accessibly on the day that HMV sadly goes under.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quaila quail

0181 is out now and available to stream at For more information, please visit

Click here to read Rocksucker’s review of Four Tet’s 2012 album Pink


About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.