Though he has scored zero number one positions and can barely be seen or heard of on the TV or radio, Four Tet - a.k.a Kieran Hebden - is still probably one of the most respected and well known electronic artists in music today.
He's been putting out music for over a decade and is highly regarded by everyone from Radiohead to Burial. He's been an SG favourite since his musical birth all those years ago and has been going strong since his 1999 début Dialogue. So, after a full five years since his last album - 2005's Everything Ecstatic - is Four Tet still at the forefront of the ever-shifting electronic scene?
Thankfully, the answer is a resounding yes.
From its artwork to its last dying seconds, There Is Love In You is worth every moment you waited longingly for it in those five years of unbearable silence. Consider every single foot-step impressively on target and without faltering. He builds upon every and any aspect the man has ever constructed over the course of his career. Did you really expect anything else though?
It twinkles with life and energy, warmth and depth and displays Hebden's astute aptitude at creating complex but approachable electronica with utter ease and composure. Folds of bleeps, blips, twitches and glitches fuse flawlessly over the course of the record, bathing in the ethereal and the hypnotic, glowing and pulsing as though alive and surging with electricity. The soft, organic strings of Circling, the otherworldly sparkle of This Unfolds, the spacey sparsity of Reversing, they're all so perfectly and meticulously crafted that you'll come away from the record in a complete daze as to where you just disappeared to for the last fifty minutes. It's the kind of album ancient tribal cultures would have used for their hazy rites-of-passage ceremonies, more journey than experience.
You'd be hard pushed to find a genuinely displeasing moment of music throughout any of the nine tracks and though we'd imagine dedicated fans of the electronic scene will derive the most amount of pleasure from it, there's no reason for any genre-admirer (be it metal or rap) not to get something out of the listening experience. Even when he delves deeper into the dance side of the spectrum - "Sing" probably being the strongest example - there's still something completely satisfying about the way in which the music is conveyed. He has structure, timing and melody down to absolute perfection that no matter how many times you hear a song, there's always something different to focus on and enjoy.
There is however, one lone negative to slot in with all of these gushing positives and that's the repetition factor. With electronic and instrumental material, it's eminently more noticeable when elements are repeating themselves and when we're subjected to such lengthy efforts as the nine-minute beast that is "Love Cry", well, there's just too much of the same thing. It builds and burns into something a lot bigger than what it started out as but the same robotic, female vocal sample of 'love cry' and backing melody is there the entire time. It by no means devastates but it is something that recurs throughout points of the L.P. Considering a lot of the tracks here sit above the five minute-mark, it's definitely the most noticeable fault which presents itself the longer you spend with the CD.
That's just a minor weakness though and honestly, once the album lifts you away from your consciousness and sets you floating into the lucid atmosphere it conjures within its introductory moments, you'll be too busy staring in awe at the surroundings to care.
Without a doubt an (early) album of the year contender but more importantly a moment in music history that we shan't be forgetting soon.
Oh, and headphones are highly recommended.