Album: Four Tet

Everything Ecstatic, DOMINO
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The Independent Culture

A huge disappointment after 2003's Rounds, this album from Kieran Hebden is bogged down in a rhythmic morass that's neither dance-friendly nor offers the bebop brio of the best drum'n'bass. The mistitled opener, "A Joy", is typical: a clutter of drums and cymbals boils beneath the murky thrumming of an insistent bassline; an electric piano noodles briefly, interrupted by drop-outs of silence, before it ends in a shower of electronic noises. Neither fun nor funky, it seems pointless and irritating. It's no surprise to learn from the press release that much of the album was derived from a couple of hours Hebden spent playing with a friend's drum machine. Maybe he should have applied himself a little more, as none of the 10 tracks is as daring as Squarepusher or as amenable as The Chemical Brothers. At one extreme, "And Then Patterns" is bog-standard programming tarted up with specious effects; at the other, "Sun Drums and Soil" is like a particularly unrewarding prog-rock drum solo, its laboured progres

A huge disappointment after 2003's Rounds, this album from Kieran Hebden is bogged down in a rhythmic morass that's neither dance-friendly nor offers the bebop brio of the best drum'n'bass. The mistitled opener, "A Joy", is typical: a clutter of drums and cymbals boils beneath the murky thrumming of an insistent bassline; an electric piano noodles briefly, interrupted by drop-outs of silence, before it ends in a shower of electronic noises. Neither fun nor funky, it seems pointless and irritating. It's no surprise to learn from the press release that much of the album was derived from a couple of hours Hebden spent playing with a friend's drum machine. Maybe he should have applied himself a little more, as none of the 10 tracks is as daring as Squarepusher or as amenable as The Chemical Brothers. At one extreme, "And Then Patterns" is bog-standard programming tarted up with specious effects; at the other, "Sun Drums and Soil" is like a particularly unrewarding prog-rock drum solo, its laboured progress punctuated with a desultory keyboard figure and trumpet monotone before a saxophone appears, five minutes in, to scrawl a few avant-jazz scribbles over the conclusion. There's a casual stodginess to it that's characteristic of an album seeking to disguise the essential laziness of its conception under the bogus bustle of industry.

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