Four Tet - Rounds - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Four Tet - Rounds

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2003-05-05

Rounds, the third album from Four Tet, confirms its maker, London-based laptop musician Kieran Hebden, as one of modern British music's most contradictory characters: a bedroom composer that obsesses over the roughest new UK garage and hip-hop cuts, yet tucked up in his studio writes harp-laden melodic pieces that sound like the gentle flutter of a cherub's wings and have titles like "My Angel Rocks Back And Forth".

Every Four Tet album is inscrutably, sometimes indescribably lovely, and Rounds is no exception. On first listen, it sounds like a near twin of 2001's Pause--a cerebral, organic-sounding journey through vistas of gentle European folk music, Balinese percussion and next-wave hip-hop rhythms. But even Four Tet on autopilot is pretty essential stuff: the opening "Hands" layers shards of stroked acoustic chords and chrome-smooth electronic swishes into a glimmering fog of sound, before tethering it down with crashing drumkit percussion; the bare "Unspoken" sounds like DJ Shadow collaborating with some obscure minimalist composer. In this meditative work, Hebden does so much to dispel the notion that electronic music has to be cold and clinical. Long may he contradict. --Louis Pattison

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