It’s the return of the king of UK electronic music, Four Tet (Kieran Heiden.) In my eyes, at least. Oh wait, no. There’s burial. It’s a toss up. But they’re apparently the same guy anyway so whatever, invalid argument. Four Tet is back with Sixteen Oceans
When the first track came in I genuinely thought Jamie xx’s record was playing because of, you know, echoey steel drum stuff. Jamie and Foury are starting to influence each other to the point where it’s becoming indecipherable between the two.
So the album is fine. It’s nice. It washes over you, but it’s basically like 3 quarters interlude. At one point I forgot I was listening to it while it was on. How is that even possible? This is the kinda music you here in nature shows. In fact, if David Attenborough was talking over this it would be soooo much better.
The best track was released a year ago (the beautiful sounding “Teenage Birdsong,” totally a 3am walking home song) but besides that there are still some stellar 4T tracks. The big track here, “Love Salad,” clocking in at 7mins doesn’t tread any new ground, in fact it’s pretty light on its feet, but it flows really well. “Baby” is his biggest banger 4T’s had in 10yrs. Oh, actually no, that Nelly Furtado sampling one is, but I guess that was a one off ‘cause it doesn’t show up here.
“Insect Near Piha Beach” does that classic 4T thing where there’s a beat and Indian sounding plucked strings that don’t go in rhythm together but it just totally fucking works, somehow. It doesn’t do much more but hey, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. After “Something In The Sadness,” which is already a rip off of his own track (the incredible “Sing”) there are six more tracks until album end, and they are all interludes, filler, whatever you wanna call it.
Sixteen Oceans is reminiscent to his magnum opus There Is Love In You more than any of Hebden’s other stuff. It’s just really twinkly and positive sounding. Sixteen Oceans is obviously a much lesser album but it’s a nice companion. Four Tet might not have any new tricks this time around but the old tricks will do. If anything at least listen to “Baby,” oh my Jesus Christ that song is good.
Also, I would kill to see Four Tet live again. I saw him one in 2009… 11 yrs ago. Jesus. And now he’s got this mad light show. Probably sold out due to looking insane. Probably cancelled due to Corona. 😔