Review: Four Tet – Beautiful Rewind
Published on October 23rd, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
There’s been a lot of talk about Four Tet shifting to the dance floor, which strikes as a trifle peculiar given how downright undanceable the majority of his brand new studio album Beautiful Rewind is.
Last year’s collection of 12-inch singles, Pink…now that was kinda dancey. Beautiful Rewind occasionally breaks out with a jungle rhythm, even a pounding club beat at the start of “Kool FM”, but for the most part it picks a moody spot and sets up camp in it.
In terms of progressions and melodic hooks it’s decidedly minimalist, and the kind of synaesthetic pyrotechnics that lit up albums like 2005’s Everything Ecstatic are largely absent. That’s not to say, however, that it’s without its Four Tet-ish charms.
Opener “Gong” comes rumbling in almost as if mid-stream, playing out as a pulverising mishmash of rhythmic elements with snippets of voices tumbling out of it as it rolls along, like a truck unwittingly shedding its load across a motorway.
Vocals similarly flee the juddering wibble-step of “Parallel Jalebi”, are ‘gently exorcised’ from it if you will, and this flows seamlessly into the wider body of water that is “Our Navigation”.
Here, vast expanses of bubbling, oceanic electronica come into view then are promptly hooked offstage for the chattering “Ba Teaches Yoga” and then the aforementioned, erstwhile-pirate-radio-station-honouring “Kool FM”, each of which retain the monged sort of topsoil that permeates proceedings.
The bleeping, fluttering, wob-wobbing “Crush” leads into the thwomping, kicking “Buchla”, pooling these tracks together nicely before twinkly high-end interests are let loose in “Aerial” and the relatively chipper “Unicorn”.
Nostalgia-tinged closer “Your Body Feels” is either hypnotic or repetitive depending on your point of view; either way, it’s a low-key finale to a low-key album.
Beautiful Rewind is as masterfully sculpted as you’re entitled to expect from a Four Tet record, but we’d hesitate to describe it as beautiful.
Beautiful Rewind is out now on Text Records.
Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!