Four Tet: Beautiful Rewind (Text) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Four Tet

Beautiful Rewind


Oct 31, 2013 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

If London’s alternative music scene were anthropomorphized, there is every chance that it would look like Kieran Hebden. A scruffy, bookish-looking guy in his mid-30s, based in the trendy Shoreditch/Daltson East End of England’s capital city, creating danceable but distinctly under the radar music that appealsbroadly speakingto the major cities’ liberal intelligentsia. His brand of dubstep, along with that of his contemporary Burial, feels like it’s at the forefront of progressive music.

Yet mention the genre to the casual fan, in a provincial nightclub or bar, and the odds are that it’ll be, say, Skrillex they talk about rather than Four Tet. The latter has always felt like something of an observer, distant and almost inaccessible. He’s not one who will ever talk of “mad beats and crazy drops, yo,” but rather the cool observer, dipping into multiple genres without ever fully immersing himself; using the smallest measures of multiple elements to splash paint on a grey background. None of his albums create that aura the way that Beautiful Rewind does.

It feels strange to say that as a criticism. Rounds was the greatest album of the post-dubstep genre because it did the above whilst occasionally slicing right through the artichoke of the song to show the artist’s beating heart: Beautiful Rewind rarely even peels back a single layer. Songs such as “Kool FM,” “Our Navigation,” and “Gong” see him taking his collection of influences, from soul to folk to epic rock, all to the house dance floor, but burying everything under waves of static and lo-fi production ensures that nothing ever quite connects with the listener in the way you might hope. Elsewhere the album feels a bit rushed, cuts slightly unfinished, a lot like the more recent work of Hebden’s sometime collaborator Thom Yorke.

It’s still recognizably Four Tet, still a cut above most EDM. It just feels a little frustrating. (

Author rating: 6.5/10

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October 31st 2013

Rounds came out 10 years ago. Four Tet has moved on from then, you should too.

Dan Lucas
November 1st 2013

@ShowcaseJase it’s still the standard he’s set himself.