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Editors’ Notes

Since the tail end of the 20th century, Four Tet — aka one-man band Kieran Hebden — has consistently crafted engaging, and tasteful-without-being-dull electronic music. Words like “organic” and “folktronica” have been used to describe Four Tet’s output and for good reason: Hebden brings a sense of warmth that betrays his experience playing in indie rock bands. On albums like Pause (2001) and Rounds (2003), there is a near perfect balance of experimentation and accessibility, and Hebden has a way with melody and riff that pleasures the listener. Ringer is more stripped-down and techno-y than his older albums, and three of the four cuts point to Krautrock, an influence that became apparent on Everything Ecstatic (2005). The opening title track sports shimmering fiddle-like tones that send shivers up the spine, while “Ribbons” throbs and pings with aural excitement. The droney “Swimmer” hypnotizes as ever-mutating details and low-key propulsive elements emerge. The album leaves Deutschland behind and heads toward Africa and the disco for its closer. With its insistent pulse and sizzling percussion, “Wing Body Wing” could go over nicely in your local techno or house club. Watery sound droplets and bursts of guitar noise fleck this groovy send-off.

Customer Reviews

best four tet in years

nice review, orcasisla, especially your explanation. ringer grabs hold of a mood and then explores it unrelentingly. hebden is at or near his best here, and the song "swimmer" is incredible. hopefully there is more to come.

This 'single'/EP should have been named after the second song.

What is different about this release is that the songs feel expanded for no good reason. The use of more basic drum programming is quite apparent, mostly because it doesn't change very much. This isn't as far of a departure in Four Tet's style as it might sound, but there are some serious missteps that prevent repeated listenings. Most of the songs here are challenging to listen to attentively, which I always found to be the best thing about Four Tet's music. 1. Ringer: The main sample here, which sounds like what a 70's horror film might really want to use as a climactic finale, is not quite good enough to use for the entire first half of the song and then return to it at the end. It's just a little overwhelming. When we think we might be in for a spectacular ending at the 8-minute mark (when the drums really come in), it dissipates 30 seconds later, leaving us with a too-brief payoff. 2. Ribbons: This is a really good track, a stand-out selection, despite its pretty standard bass drum/hi-hat beats. There is real melody here flowing throughout and there are distinct sections that are engaging and invite further listening. This is the best of the EP, and the closest in style to previous material. 3. Swimmer: What could have made this track work is removing the note-that-will-not-end, or at least making it quieter. I can't listen to this track without trying to ignore the overpowering and persistent organ chord, which is a futile effort. That is a shame because you can tell this song would been the second-best one here. 4. Wing Body Wing: This track sounds unfinished, as if another layer of sound or movement is needed to justify its length. The fact is, we know that Four Tet can hash out a good 10-minute song like "Unspoken" from Rounds (with it's many movements) or Everything Ecstatic's "Sleep, Eat Food, Have Visions", which has an excellent, swelling finale.


O.k, it isn't what I was expecting, but it's pretty tight. Maybe I'm beign too nice, but it's an interesting album and it grows on you. I wouldn't buy it myself, but if you like techno backround music then go right ahead.


Born: 1980 in London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Spawned by the urge to do something apart from his post-rock band Fridge, Kieran Hebden's Four Tet project balances organic and programmed sounds. Hebden formed Fridge with Sam Jeffers and Adem Ilhan while still in high school. When Fridge went on temporary hiatus for Jeffers and Ilhan to attend college, Hebden spent time playing with ideas gained from hip-hop and electronica that he hadn't had time to develop. Eager to experiment, Hebden bought a computer and began collecting drum and sound samples....
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