At its most basic level, it seems like there are two types of art; the emotional and the logical. The former is visceral; it’s powerful, deeply evocative, but raw and full of imperfections; the kind of art borne as a knee jerk reaction to something, created with a kind of throw-everything-at-it approach. The second is probably the more common; the considered art that tries its best to achieve the urgency of the emotional, but never quite manages it; with the time taken to perfect it, and the quality that emerges as a result, preventing it from being like the former. It’s the idea of the black swan and the white swan, and it becomes all-consuming when you start thinking about which of the two you’re experiencing, and which you prefer.
So where am I going with this? Well, if we consider music to be art, which of course we all should, then same rule must apply to your favourite bands and their best albums. Now if I had to choose between ‘raw’ and ‘meticulous’, or between ‘emotional’ and ‘stark’, nine times out of ten (much like the rest of you I’d assume) I’d pick the former. But the odd thing is, although Four Tet’s new record Pink falls most definitively in the ‘considered’ pile, it doesn’t feel like a cheap imitation of something more visceral at all.
And that’s the first reason why Pink is good; it manages to evade the pitfalls of most electronic music, and through clever production and organic progression, manages to feel emotive, and cathartic, and real. The second reason Pink is good is because, at this stage in his career, Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet) has got his style dialled to perfection. He’s an artist that has slowly but surely positioned himself at the top of his field, and one who has an uncanny ability to always get his fans’ juices flowing. If you like There Is Love In You, if you like his collaborations and remixes, and if you like clever electronic music, you’ll definitely like this, no questions asked.
The music itself is a natural progression from There Is Love In You. The classic Four Tet beats still remain; the beats that grow, and shift, and wax and wane until you have no idea how they got where they are, but know you’ve loved every minute. And it’s important to know that you will love every minute, because I’ll admit, a track listing where the majority of songs are over eight minutes long is a little daunting. But those longer songs expand and develop in such a way that the seconds, and minutes, and moments all blend together so deliciously that the time isn’t an issue at all, and it actually comes as a disappointment when the groove has to stop.
Thematically the album goes a little darker than his previous release; plumbing the depths of that early-hours-clubbing vibe for a little longer than usual, before finally rising majestically into the shimmering delights we all know and love. It’s definitely a patient album, a Natalie Portman rather than a Mila Kunis, but when each track comes together for its beautifully considered dénouement, you probably won’t care less that it’s an album made by one guy and lots of gear, because it certainly doesn’t feel that way.
By Alex Throssell
Dance Yrself Clean