There Is Love In You

02.02.10 Words by: Charlie Jones

During the nineties, Aphex Twin captured the minds of those whose ears were attuned to a very special frequency. Percussion, melody and synth arrangement that still defy genre application, categorical placement or any clear sense of cultural belonging. Sound that not only paints the impossible to see, it manifests itself internally, conjuring up the neurological patterns of the mind – the sporadic movement of brain signals and our synesthetic experience of them. Fast forward to today (ignoring everything we have seen, done or felt in the interim). What do we have? We have ‘There is Love in You’ by Four Tet. Everything that is beautiful and sensual about the world but constructed as sound.

One of Richard D James’ first releases, Analogue Bubblebath, was in 1991. It was an amorous spiral of melodic euphoria over light tambourine percussion, kicking drum loops and acidic bumps and airy piano stabs. Aphex Twin was revolutionary. He pushed the door open for electronic producers to experiment, explore and evolve. Seven years later Four Tet appeared.

While ‘There is Love in You’ might not share the squelchiness of ‘Richard D James Album’ or the frenetic chaos of ‘Drukqz’, Kieran Hebden’s musical career has undoubtedly spawned from the AFX school of thought. Not immediately belonging to the Warp family (minus a couple of remixes and the odd compilation), Hebden’s output – although predominantly released on the edgy-side-of-mainstream-indie label Domino – has always mirrored AFX’s tone. The aesthetics of his sound. Sensations and movements that cannot be seen. You only need to hear the cascading chimes and shattering glass of ‘Rounds’ to see the connection.

The difference is that in contrast to the visceral and seedy (Windowlicking) underworld of AFX, ‘There is Love in You’ inhabits an external world. Hebden’s head is up in the clouds and his main object is bliss from the outset. Angel Echoes is exactly that. Cut-up female vocal samples over a soft 4X4 beat is the sonic version of rolling emotion. Love, basically – but controlled. This passes and makes way for Love Cry. An extension of his collaboration with Burial last year, Moth. There is now a (funky) step to Four Tet’s stride that didn’t exist before. Circling (regrettably) enters car advert-friendly territory, until Sing breaks out into the smartest techno track I have heard for years. Ambient chimes meet glitches, wind up and then lightly explode. Add to this the acoustic string twinkling and chugging analogue bass line in This Unfolds and the true extent of Hebden’s diversity becomes apparent. All of it framed by his recognisable touch. The aestheticism that underpinned ‘Rounds’ and ‘Dialogues’.

What is interesting about Hebden is his ability to move with the times. While AFX has occupied a timeless world kept separate from anything else around him, since 1998 – from ‘Dialogues’ through to today – Four Tet has acted almost like a sponge, soaked up his surroundings and formed something that is relevant, recognisably him and tight. The Four Tet way.

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