Whether a torrent of abuse flows in my direction or not, I’ll bite my lip and say that Four Tet’s Rounds is perhaps the greatest electronica album ever released. His ability to layer quite disparate sequences of rhythm and sound into a tight, exquisite package, and to incorporate a plethora of instruments and styles and yet keep the sound very organic and original, has so far has met a string of imitators but no equals. Live, however, the performance can be hit or miss, depending on your penchant for experimenting with already heavily experimental compositions. Some reviews of his gigs highlight the esoteric barriers that many electronica artists put up in front of them when playing live: just as any decent rock band detest performing an album note for note on the stage, artists with a creative horizon as wide as Kieran Hebden’s will want to use it to the fullest, but risk the danger of making it too inaccessible. His recent gig at London’s Indigo2 managed to please all, however, playing classics from his last three albums on top of a few new mixes thrown in for good measure. There were stompers, nodders, and sky-gazers in the crowd, young and old, male and female; pretty much summing up the diversity of fans that Four Tet attracts, and with the genius to traverse so many genres, that scope is unsurprising.
Listen to the Fourtet song, Ribbons.