Four Tet
Beautiful Rewind


4.0
excellent

Review

by Vincent A. USER (10 Reviews)
October 23rd, 2013 | 25 replies | 2,415 views


Release Date: 10/01/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Kieran Hebden's latest venture draws heavily from traditional venues of electronic music, yet still maintains the sense of bold sonic exploration we have come to expect from a Four Tet release.

7 of 7 thought this review was well written

“Kool FM,” the lead single off the latest Four-Tet full length Beautiful Rewind was met with a degree of backlash from long-time fans who found the new house-inspired direction to be a concerning, unwelcome departure. While there is indeed a retreat from the live instrumentation in which Four Tet’s aesthetic draws its tendencies from, to call Beautiful Rewind a dance or techno album is a gross exaggeration.

Instead, the album finds Four Tet still crafting densely textured sonic soundscapes, only now there is indeed a house-inspired aesthetic that finds Hebden adhering to relatively traditional standards of form and structure. While prior records felt meticulously pieced together, on Beautiful Rewind there is a greater emphasis on natural progression and a gradually building, basic sense of sonic exploration. The tracks “Ba Teaches Yoga” and “Unicorn” are not only the albums strongest moments, but both seem cut from a similar structural mold. Both rely heavily on interwoven loops that build into a drifting, multi-textured soundscape. They are breathtakingly ethereal moments that represent Hebden’s most escapist tracks to date.

It is a bit hard to come to terms with how “Kool FM” with its uninspired, obnoxious vocal sample and bass wobble, fits into the record’s cohesive vision. And yet, repeated listens suggest that it might be the record’s most complex, lasting, and polarizing moment. The title itself combined with the seemingly basic structure and sampling suggest what can be viewed as a satire of contemporary dance culture. Indeed, the track’s gritty backdrop features a melancholy, grim synth that seems far too dark to appeal to a mass legion of club-goers. Even on a track that is strikingly simplistic in form, Hebden refuses to create something that can be pidgeon-holed into a particular scene or genre.

Beautiful Rewind is an album that feels cohesive while still maintaining a consistent sense of exploration and movement. Tracks that feel starkly different in tone and mood are bound together by similar stylistic flourishes, like African vocal samples or various percussive flourishes. There is a running, constant dichotomy between the primal and the synthetic, yet the result is a seamless sonic narrative that proves consistently interesting. While the album does have a few brief hiccups (“Crush,” “Ever Never”) it is best when experienced from the perspective of a single, unified, bold vision- one successfully carried out by one of the most influential producers making music today.



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user ratings (62)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Pavelboca
October 23rd 2013



82 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Was excited to see there was no review for this. This one kind of wrote itself, so I hope it flows alright.



AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2013



7314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm surprised it took so long for someone to review this, excellent job. I'm finding the record quite disappointing though.

Wadlez
October 23rd 2013



3824 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Agreed.. I didn't have high expectations though as I found Rounds to be average as well


ShitsofRain
October 23rd 2013



5608 Comments


why does this cover look like shit?

Digging: Ben Sims - Fabric 73

CaptainDooRight
October 23rd 2013



28355 Comments


looks like a birds eye view of high rises under rain

butt i could b rong

Digging: Tukaaria - Raw to the Rapine

EaglesBecomeVultures
October 23rd 2013



5194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

best new user

Digging: FKA twigs - LP1

ShitsofRain
October 23rd 2013



5608 Comments


the combination of it is just awful

lauriej
October 23rd 2013



1711 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

grim synth that seems far too dark to appeal to a mass legion of club-goers

have you ever been to a minimal dubstep night? shits dark as hell

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
October 23rd 2013



3347 Comments


best new user (2)

keep writing, at this rate if you can put out another 10 reviews or so before the promotions
(probably) come in February I can see you as contrib at that point. would you like some more detailed
criticism?

Pavelboca
October 23rd 2013



82 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Any criticism is always appreciated! I would love to be staff/ contributor but I'm not really sure how all that works. I assume there's a long road to the staff position? At any rate, I like writing these so ill continue to do so.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
October 23rd 2013



3347 Comments


Basically, there are promotions every February or so. Users can apply for contrib (last year someone applied to staff straight from user but he was an idiot and not a very good writer) and contribs can apply for staff. I got contrib last round after starting up in August 2012, and I'm planning (I think) on applying for staff next round. And yeah, just be active on the site, keep writing, and be generally friendly/helpful and you'll get promoted (probably).

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
October 23rd 2013



3347 Comments


Anyways, general critiques:

Given the strength of the rest of your review, your opening sentence is a little weak. I mean, it puts the reader into the review, but it doesn't really capture my attention. Think of using that as a hook of some sort, where you want to catch the reader with it. (Shameless self-promotion: check out these reviews if you want to see how I've done opening sentences before. http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/58966/Avicii-True/ and http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/57848/Phaeleh-Tides/) Also, I'd think about combining your intro with paragraph 2. It doesn't really stand on its own all that well, and it flows naturally into the next paragraph.

Your third paragraph is gold. It's really well-done and flows nicely. I particularly like this line:

Indeed, the track’s gritty backdrop features a melancholy, grim synth that seems far too dark to appeal to a mass legion of club-goers. Even on a track that is strikingly simplistic in form, Hebden refuses to create something that can be pidgeon-holed into a particular scene or genre.


If everything was like that, I'd be clamoring for a feature and an instant promotion. Not to say the rest is bad, but it's definitely inferior to the third para. Take, for example:

The tracks “Ba Teaches Yoga” and “Unicorn” are not only the albums strongest moments


breathtakingly ethereal moments


(this is kind of meaningless jargon. don't try to hide behind too many vaguely descriptive words and everything will come out better)

That said, this is a really solid review. It's tough to write about Four Tet, of course, but you do a very admirable job. Have a pos, and I look forward to seeing you around some more!

Sleaper
October 23rd 2013



3322 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

great review.

parallel jalebi is still one of my favs of the year. the second half of this album lacks quality, but the first is great

Digging: Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2013



1638 Comments


yea, this is top notch stuff review-wise. keep it up!

Digging: My Brightest Diamond - None More Than You

ti0n
October 23rd 2013



1377 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

kool FM is like the worst track ever. i loved his older work but this song really keeps me away from listening to this album

IsItHype
October 23rd 2013



7 Comments


Hype! and great review, too.

Pavelboca
October 23rd 2013



82 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks BroStep. I have some prior journalistic experience and I'm sure these reviews could be a bit better. This one
especially was kind of a "let me write this spur of the moment " kind of thing, but I'll be sure to put forth that added
degree of effort and close in on the gramaticcal mistakes.



Pavelboca
October 23rd 2013



82 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

On the topic of the cover- I don't find it ugly enough to be offensive! It seems a lot of electronic albums have some sort of abstract geometric shape or something for their album artwork. It sort of goes along with the aesthetic of the genre.

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2013



1638 Comments


He said on twitter that the cover is a view of a place where he grew up.

Pavelboca
October 23rd 2013



82 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well there ya go!



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