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on December 22, 2015
Great album terrible pressing. Check vinyl when you remove from sleeve. Plays well like a mint album should, just looks funny.
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on May 31, 2003
I'm blown away! This album takes the deep wounds left by the first one and infects them even more. I've got a rash this stuff is so good. True, jumping into this music from listening to popular music, or even Pause (which was more mainstream than this) is a bit like jumping off a cliff, but for those of you who are ready for some music that has not been done before, do not hesitate to pick this up.
I always thought "no more maskitos" and "everything is alright" were pretty generic from the first cd compared to the other stuff on it. (Not that I didn't like them, everything is alright is the reason I bought the cd! :p ) This stuff is hardcore, but still manages to keep an unmistakeable beat unlike to rococo rot. This probably one of the most consistant cds I've bought in a while.
I get to see four tet this sunday in philly!!
- Seth
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on March 26, 2016
All tracks are different in their own way. You would need to be a lil bit more of a music nerd to like it though, as I think the average person wouldnt make it thru half these tracks, especially the last one.
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on September 4, 2015
Four Tet makes me wet.
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on December 28, 2012
I'm just amazed by everything this guy puts out. His music is the best when I need to write a paper or read a book.
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on September 1, 2012
All you need to do is listen this friendly music and let your mind free to ride everywhere! Four Tet is a realy genius...
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on October 3, 2013
The seller and delivery was fine, however I was expecting a lot more from the composer and CD. It did not delivery. I had read rave reviews on the composer/music. A genius of a composer who sets up the intro with the building beat of a drum that moves into a warm and melodic composition, hmm, I did not hear it this way. First, the fact that he can manipulate sounds through a computer and can reproduce or blend any and all sorts sounds together, in a low-fi fashion is not impressive to me, if what comes out doesn't appeal. Second, warm and melodic I did not find it that way, just the opposite, sterile and boring. His compositions sound forced, which makes listening an uncomfortable experience, not an exciting, revealing or relaxing one. He lays down a steady beat of drum samples, that aren't particularly interesting or unusual and then tries to weave extraneous sounds along with lots of cymbals into the grove he sets, but it just doesn't happen for me. It was far from my expectation. I tried to be open and gave it four or so listens, but it never caught nor did I think I "got it". In fact I believe I was only able to listen all the way through one time. Too experimental for me I guess. With that said I like Brian Eno, 808 State, Apex Twin, Ulrich Schnauss and I was expecting this artist to approach his music similarly, which to my ear it didn't. Maybe this is why people say this CD is so revolutionary, it doesn't match up with anything that has come before. Maybe it is way ahead of its time and I am just not open enough and receptive to appreciate, my loss. The cost wasn't too much so I am glad I bought it to at least know what I don't like.
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on May 31, 2003
Rounds isn't really a departure from Pause in any way so much as it is a
progression. It's certainly more immediate and focused, and the level of
emotional involvement is certainly much higher this time around. Where Pause
was sometimes noncommital and breezy, this record finds beauty in the cracks of plaster
and shafts of dusty light, and it's certainly a welcome change from most of the
genre's blind and dour worship of the glitch.
"Hands" opens the record with an ascending two-chord progression played by
lightly picked guitar and organ while the drums warm up to a slow but loose
rhythm which seems to wander around the Zildjian section of a music shop,
delighting in everything they find. The familiar atmosphere is here, but
somehow there's a greater sense of urgency as the track builds on a slow
crescendo but never quite releases. It's a powerful opener, evoking a sense of
wide, open spaces, similar in tone to Mum's "Green Grass of Tunnel."
"She Moves She" is the first single, and the first time I heard it, I didn't
care much for it, but hearing it context makes much more sense. It opens with
a limber drum track overlaid with an absent-minded dobro that wouldn't sound
out of place on a Ben Harper record somewhere. In the chorus (of sorts), a
distorted acoustic guitar sample stabs into the mix in a staccato patter just
coherent enough to imply chord changes. It sounds like Fennesz, except more
focused and driven. The verses are carried by a glockenspiel which manages not
to sound the least bit fey, and toward the end, the whole ensemble is filtered
down to single notes on the offbeat, and the track leans toward a two-step feel
similar to "Untangle."
"My Angel Rocks" rides an echoing loop of static and rimshots that sounds like
something off Arovane's excellent Tides while a fragile lullaby plays on a
harp. Yes, a harp. In anyone else's hands, that would send this straight into
the eight circle of Windham Hill perdition, but before it can get cloying, a
back-masked guitar fades into the middle register and turns the whole thing
into an almost heart-wrenching chorale.
It's worth mentioning at this point that several times on this album, I've
actually caught myself holding my breath. No, really. It's that good.
"Spirit Fingers" comes through like a whirling dervish, propelled by a
double-speed guitar part that wouldn't sound out of place on a Takemura record,
especially when it's overlaid with a frantic gamelan pattern. Just when the
track starts to sound like an anomaly, a slowly picked acoustic guitar pulls
the reins back. Not really a standout track, but by no means bad, either.
"Unspoken" lopes along like a Dj Shadow tune with guitar feedback floating over
the mix. The piano part enters, and after about a minute, you realize that the
melody is from Tori Amos' "Winter." With tamborines. This is where
description falls short, because as awful as that may sound on paper, the whole
thing actually works. It's remniscient of µ-ziq's appropriation of "Your
Ghost", except where that track simply used the original as an adornment, Four
Tet uses it as a single motif among many. After the first verse, the piano
part is replaced by a jazz progression with trumpets and cello, and when it
reappears, it's bolstered by a larger and different arrangement. I was really
surprised by the mastery of structure and development here, since the track as
a whole takes over nine minutes and never once lost my interest.
"As Serious as Your Life" sounds like like something out of some forgotten
'70's police show, and while it's hardly the most substantial thing here, it's
certainly clever and alot of fun in the same way "Everything's Allright" was on
the last record.
"And They All Look Broken Hearted" reminds me of a more relaxed Amon Tobin,
with a nimble drum kit buoyed by a slow bassline. The whole thing boils away
at a slow tempo, never really picking up, but never letting down either. This
is mostly a track about atmosphere, and it works well in that respect.
"Slow Jam" is the closer, and it may be the best thing Hebden's ever done.
Ringing guitars enter over a slow beat, and I'm reminded of every rock song
that ever rode itself out on a slow, glorious three-minute coda. The guitars
and strings ride an aching chord progression that builds and recedes in a
series of subtle climaxes while scattered vocal samples ricochet through the
mix. There's almost a melody in vocals, but it never quite coalesces, which is
fine, because this is more about stroke and gesture than anything literal.
Some part of me wants the voices to come in, but I know that, if they did, the
whole delicate illusion would be ruined. The track feels like like the credits
music for some alternate-universe John Hughes movie, and it doesn't matter that
it doesn't really go anywhere, because you're just happy to be held, suspended,
while the landscape drops away below.
Absolutely essential.
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on October 28, 2003
Four Tet is experimentalist "Kieran Hebden", who takes the ideology of electronica and fuses with a heavy smattering of instrumental folk...as well as dissecting "Trip-Hop, IDM, Ambient Techno" and rebuilding the framework from the ground up, into predominately emotional electronica (the term "Folktronica", has been used to categorise his music), opener "Hands" is all shimmering sounds and twinkling melodies as more akin to acoustic folk. "My Angel Rocks Back and Forth" is a beautifully subtle melody of guitar & sophisticated sampling, before introducing glitch techno bassline seamlessly into the mix before unfolding into warm skittering electronica. And lead single "As Serious as Your Life" has a variety of ideas and melodic production to surpass any short-sighted `Chill-out music' comparisons. At times this album is beautiful, at others warm & understated...with many ideas contributing to make a cohesive whole....no wonder "Radiohead's" Thom Yorke holds `Four Tet' in such high regard.
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on May 11, 2003
The first I'd heard of Four Tet was his incredible and very sensual remix of Kings of Convenience's song "The Weight of my Words" from their VERSUS album of remixes, and I had heard another from the PAUSE album.
Every song on ROUNDS is organic and melancholy. The album reminds me a little of Bjork's VESPERTINE or Zero 7 except with an Asian feel. Several of the songs seem to overlay a Japanese mandolin such as on "She moves she." The song starts off with a great train-track beat which almost deceives you into thinking it's a dance song, but the quiet mood of the song quickly takes over, and much like the rest of the album, it turns into a song to be enjoyed with headphones. The song is calming but soon the ease is interrupted by distorted cuts which detract from the previous mood but aren't forced.
"My angel rocks back and forth" seems a little more industrial, but not like NIN; it too takes a turn toward quiet crystalline keyboard sounds, like Bjork's "Pagan Poetry" from her VESPERTINE album. "And they all look broken hearted" starts with a drum solo fighting through smoky air to be heard, but the Asian melody comes through and then fades away behind the smoke as well. "Unspoken" starts off as dynamic as the manic "Spirit Fingers" with a constant thumping beat, but even that slows down to let a sad piano melody reach the front, and at over nine minutes, the song could either lull you to sleep or make you cry.
The sadness of the album is the main feature that captures me. The music seems nostalgic almost and reminiscent, perhaps because of its folksy touches, and not folksy, say, like Cat Power, but with much the same sadness and melancholy. Song titles like "And they all look broken hearted" continue the theme.
I'm not sure who this album is for, but since I love a song that can make me cry, the entire album is satisfying for me. The album is perfect inspiration for writing love letters that you'll never send. The title of the last song really exemplifies the album, but not "Slow Jam" in the R&B sense, but in the sense that you can put on your headphones and slowly be taken away, maybe even a younger, more innocent state like the babytoy sound in "Slow Jam" comes to remind you of.
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