Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Four Tet - Morning / Evening Review

Amongst the handful of Electronica artists dominating the 2000’s few possess such subdued confidence in their work than Four Tet. Kieran Hebden’s focus on the intricacies allowed for renewed life in IDM, a fading fad at the time. And while that ship still sank Four Tet evolved it to his own whim, fusing with it a reliance on organic instrumentation weaving through the computer-assisted modules dominating the scene. His latest LP, Morning/Evening, develops this focus to heredity levels. His Indian roots play a large part in its existence, with only two 20 minute tracks to its name the reliance is heavy on influences, choosing to engulf the sounds and vocals of his ancestors with the futuristic visions of himself. Despite the length of the songs, and the weariness of their downtime, Morning/Evening advances at a respective rate, cruising by with a focus on detail rather than forcing an enlarged sonic narrative. The abundant sampling of famed Indian vocalist Lata Mangeshkar on the first half gives a bright opening while 'Evening' slowly tears things down before the night dawns with a club rave. Four Tet’s latest LP treads lightly on the surface but divulges obtuse details upon inspection to its deepest realms.

With two 20 minute tracks, connected at the seam for coherency, Morning/Evening is sparse and drawling. The length of each half allows for Four Tet to revel in space, a much needed commodity on an album, incorporating sounds at his pleasure without a care for awkward silence as elongated synth patterns evolve and devolve as the movements coast and sway to Hebden’s organic fluctuations. As would be expected each half focuses on a time of day, respective, as the day in Four Tet’s LP progresses fluidly, seeping into one another. Mangeshkar’s vocals beam with a vibrant impulse on ‘Morning’ that sees the sunrises with pitter-patter drums joining her in unison. Even with its 20 minute length ‘Morning’ moves rapidly without much variation, and it doesn’t need to. The charm incites a loss amongst the ears as the LP moves in accordance with life’s monotonous repetition, throwing in oddities as sparing as one would expect. Pulsating synths cascade amongst a rubble of Mangeshkar’s voice, bubbling until it settles in a stir pot as lunch sets in and the sun begins its descent. 

As the day moves onwards, ‘Evening’ begins with an assimilation of parts. Electronic gears, ever so eagerly, move into place. Synths spark up as the engine begins revving as looped blips carry the momentum, before a subconscious wave of blurred textures intertwine with chopped vocals to create a sound entirely reminiscent of dusk approaching. The track reaches its halfway point before anything concrete forms, which is a little disappointing considering humanities flaw in focusing on the minute, but just as you expect the entire track to fall off a rampant late night rave emerges, victorious and defiant as a billowing drum n’ bass stomps proudly around the floor. For a subdued record to gain momentum in its closing minutes requires patience and commitment, and the finale pays off in spades, awakening the listening for what at the end of the day is a modest beat. Morning/Evening executes spacial awareness to a tee, as each moment arises with purpose, the eventual receding yearns for a fresh, incoming sound. While the record accomplishes what it set out to do, it doesn’t aim for much higher, resenting a developed project that provides copious beats and sounds for one that engulfs in two parallel movements.

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