Real Acid, Real Jazz
British bedroom electro producer Kieran Hebdan has jazz hands. That’s not to say that you’ll see him doing a Bob Fosse shimmy anytime soon; rather, jazz pours from his hands, making magic from the phalanx of samplers, sequencers, and synths at his fingertips. Point: The loops and grooves on his sixth studio release as Four Tet, There is Love in You, make only limited creative progress. Counterpoint: Sometimes, it’s OK to preach to the converted.
As Squarepusher is wont to develop electronic compositions that take drum’n’ (especially) bass to the bleeding edge, Four Tet’s work of late shines a spotlight on rhythm, seemingly built for and from the gamut of jazz and jazz-influenced drumming. Don’t be surprised to hear in There is Love in You bits of arrangements informed by the pounding fills and solos of Buddy Rich, the treble-heavy ticking of The Police’s Stewart Copeland, even the occasional cameo from The Empty Foxhole-era Denardo Coleman, age 10. That Hebdan constructs from ones and zeroes work like “Sing,” a Latin-flavored thing filtered through chiptune noise, is all the more astounding.
Significant vocal samples lend a torchy, R&B feel to some tracks, especially during “Love Cry” and as the album title snakes its way through “Angel Echoes.” Four Tet’s beeps, washes, and other synthesized sounds can even convey or approximate banging beats in the absence of legitimate ones; there isn’t a click or bassline until about four minutes through “Circling” but it seems to need neither. And if you must find an alternative to Hebdan’s blue notes, let us suggest the closing diptych of “Plastic People” (a mirror held up to Warp Records for six minutes) and “She Just Likes to Fight” (whose mellow samples go a long way towards approximating quieter post-rock). A special blend of technological prowess and creative intuition, There is Love in You may feature Four Tet’s finest grooves yet.