Four Tet
Sixteen Oceans


4.0
excellent

Review

by dedex USER (16 Reviews)
March 30th, 2020 | 36 replies


Release Date: 03/13/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Look through your window, the trees are blooming

We are all confined, and it's the mildest time of the year. Fortunately, Four Tet recently brought us an album to help us forget the four walls surrounding us 24/7. Already known for minimalistic yet exploding tones in which subtlety thrives through rhythmic electronic beats, Kieran Hebden chose to innovate within an aesthetic he himself created. Almost an appendix to 2017's New Energy, this new output does differ in its all-encompassing approach from the environmental landscape developed three years ago. Or was it only three years ago? He always had this mellow seasonal sound, but has always sufficiently diversified his projects to bring his own sonic altitude to each of his albums. Offering this time sixteen tracks for sixteen oceans, giant shimmering ponds of clear yet deep water, this is the Englishman at his most seraphic.

While the first half is full of energetic house bops for botanical parties, Sxiteen Oceans' second act relies more on calm ambient textures and epitomizes the relaxation a sweet Spring morning engenders. Perhaps it would have been judicious to distill this second part in the first one, if only to find a balance in the holistic listening of the album. The main flaw of the album is indeed its construction: while we are delicately swayed by the interlacing loops of the first part, the second one may seem disappointing at first glance due to its lack of dynamics. It therefore requires an effort to fully embark on the pastoral journey proposed by Four Tet. Yet, as the listens accumulates, underlying subtlety that might not appeal to those in search of immediacy emerges: what first appears as facile starts to become mysterious and bucolic. Like the Flower video game, what is highlighted here is a faint blend of organic and synthetic. As the constellation of flowers flying surreptitiously through the remains of a fallen civilization, the acoustic incorporations glide through the electronic compositions. The essence of wind passing through burgeoning flowers gathers memories of the victory of the beautiful over the useful. It's a romantic invitation to many journeys, for in these times of quarantines hovers a perfume of escape. So, let's fly like the frail swallow that the wind makes tremble.

It is fitting in these times, as clubs shut down in the midst of a virus outbreak. Only Baby, the Ellie Goulding vocal samples-led tune, reminds of earlier microhousey albums (There Is Love In You comes in mind). And even there, a minute-long interlude allows the track to breathe and remind us all of the contemplative approach the record pursues. Although the DJ has always favoured reverie over the energy of club anthems, never before has it seemed so relevant. Helped with an armory of strings, the music sparkles as much as a Nicolas Feuillatte glass you would kill to spend your hard-earned money in a hip venue.

At the very least then, this is Four Tet's most natural and organic record yet: wind passing by and birds chirping are the album's main pattern. As mere field recordings to which bass and sophisticated electronic layers have been added, electronics does not seem to be, for once, the heart of creation, but rather the accompaniment of the awakening of nature. This makes for a fragile sound pallet, discreetly peaking in bubbling arrangements. The album is Spring in all its hope, serenity and innocence. As the weather finally grants us with some sunshine, this is the record you should spend your lockdown with. You will be trapped inside, but at least your mind can wander.



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user ratings (69)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
dedex
March 30th 2020


3077 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This one needed a thread so badly



'tis hard to write about bleep bloops, but all hail the dexbro for having the patience to decipher my nonsense

Digging: Minor Threat - Minor Threat

Valkoor952
March 30th 2020


3419 Comments


still haven't checked this

is it better than new energy or beautiful rewind tho

dedex
March 30th 2020


3077 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It's my fave Four Tet since There Is Love In You

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 30th 2020


54525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@valk the first half is better than virtually anything else he's done, the second half is the most boring he's ever been. The album suffers from AMSP levels of sequencing tragedy, but fortunately you can put this on and just turn it off at whatever point in the second half that you start to get bored or forget that the album is still going

Digging: Populous - W

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 30th 2020


54525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

As a whole yes it's better than new energy and no it's not better than beautiful rewind (if you are one of that albums few fans)

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 30th 2020


54525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I made an alternate tracklist for this including the amazing but inexplicably absent singles that were being released alongside/around/just before these singles. Replacing the back half of this where it just randomly becomes a lifeless sack of shit out of nowhere makes it his best album.

dedex
March 30th 2020


3077 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Still gotta listen to that alternate version

Valkoor952
March 30th 2020


3419 Comments


"it's not better than beautiful rewind (if you are one of that albums few fans)"

I'd say I dig new energy more than beautiful rewind but both haven't been that great, just pleasant listens overall
If this reaches some of the highs that he reached on TILIY and Pink (specifically pinnacles and locked, unfortunately some of the rest falls flat for me) then it'd be good.


Valkoor952
March 30th 2020


3419 Comments


"I made an alternate tracklist for this including the amazing but inexplicably absent singles that were being released alongside/around/just before these singles. Replacing the back half of this where it just randomly becomes a lifeless sack of shit out of nowhere makes it his best album."

share that badboi, after I listen to this I'll try it out

Bedex
March 30th 2020


1765 Comments


any time brotha

Digging: Cautious Clay - Blood Type

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 30th 2020


54525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

If this reaches some of the highs that he reached on TILIY and Pink (specifically pinnacles and locked, unfortunately some of the rest falls flat for me) then it'd be good.




yes, much of the first half does





and aight ill share the tracklist here in bit

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2020


25779 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hooray this has a rev

Might debump my rating, but this is neat and I like it. Ambient section has a couple of gems yo

Digging: Susumu Yokota - Symbol

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 30th 2020


54525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

None of it is bad. It’s exactly like amsp where the terrible sequencing ruins the effectiveness of the otherwise fine tracks

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
March 31st 2020


25779 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Radiohead should generally be banned from sequencing their own albums tbh

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 31st 2020


54525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think most of them are fine

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
March 31st 2020


25779 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

HTTT, AMSP and Amnesiac (forgivable since it's a fun mess anyway) are all pretty iffy

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 31st 2020


54525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Amnesiac is debatable. So 2-3 albums with bad sequencing out of what, 10 albums? Whatever

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 31st 2020


54525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Plus the sequencing of tkol, in rainbows, and kid a make up for those

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
March 31st 2020


25779 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hmm imma revise my statement: Radiohead should be banned from forgetting to sequence their albums bc it's p obvious when they drop the ball

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 31st 2020


54525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

True dat



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