Four Tet - Sixteen Oceans
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Kieran Hebden's latest album of club-ready barnstormers and downbeat daydreams (his tenth overall) feels like a companion to Four Tet's 2017 album New Energy and that's a good thing.
By the end of the 2010s, Kieran Hebden had become a hotter property in clubland than ever, playing headlining sets at every major club and festival imaginable, and releasing inescapable tracks such as "Question" and "Only Human." While both of those cuts were simply credited to the initials KH, his material as Four Tet has continued to encompass atmospheric dance tracks as well as downtempo meditations and ambient experiments.
2017's New Energy was by far one of his most accessible releases, while still demonstrating an impressively wide range of his talents, and was received enthusiastically. Sixteen Oceans is similarly eclectic, but it skews much closer towards abstract pieces and field recording-based interludes than its predecessor. Hebden can still spin gold out of a simple drum machine beat and a pretty, sophisticated melody, as evidenced by opener "School" and the sparkling "Something in the Sadness".
Tracks like the fantastic "Insect Near Piha Beach" attest to his undying devotion to UK club culture yet are as far from formulaic genre exercises as possible. Perhaps the album's most attention-grabbing tune is "Baby," a dreamy thumper featuring chopped-up vocals by Ellie Goulding.
Heavyweight double vinyl produced by Temporary Residence for Text Records. Gatefold sleeve. Includes download card. Side D features 16 short untitled tracks with locked grooves.