There Is Love in You review: I have love, but do I for Four Tet?

Nov 19, 2010 (Updated Jul 14, 2012)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Three standout tracks.

Cons:The rest is merely decent.

The Bottom Line: Good quality IDM.

UK electronica artist Four Tet (Kieran Hebden) is one of those people I would hear every now and then on electronica radio and think, "Hmmm, this is pretty cool."  However, for some reason, I never thought about getting any of his albums until I came across reviews done here by thevoid99 and GregRadiohead that made this particular Four Tet album, There Is Love in You, sound like it would really appeal to my tastes.  I can now say that I'm glad I read their reviews and went ahead and purchased Four Tet's latest album for my recent 26th birthday (November 9) because it's, well, "pretty cool" by my standards!

The style of this album is essentially ambient music with more of a beat (some describe such a style as IDM, or "Intelligent Dance Music," which is admittedly a rather snobbish name for a music genre).  Four Tet has also done what's been termed "folktronica," but I don't hear anything particularly folkish on There Is Love in You.

While I enjoy this album overall, I must admit that the first track, "Angel Echoes," doesn't really do much for me.  The music is based around a woman's vocal that has been "chopped up" and reversed electronically so that she says "there is love in you" out of order.  At first, I thought my CD was skipping when I heard the discrete units out of place; this effect completely breaks apart the natural flow of the singer's voice, which I find too distracting.  Otherwise, the piece does have its pretty moments.

"Love Cry,"
though, is phenomenal all-around.  Over the span of nine brilliant visceral minutes, the track is simultaneously futuristic and tribal.  It's very repetitive, but in a good way: surrounding the thumping grooves are many layers of atmospheric sounds that blend in wonderfully to create a sound very rich and full.

After that intense experience, "Circling" brings a more calming mood.  It's essentially just a standard dreamy, ambient work - nothing special this time around - but I do think it's aptly named considering the main melody does suggest a circular quality.

"Pablo's Heart" isn't a song in the classic sense, instead serving as a 12-second whooshing interlude of sorts prior to the bouncy "Sing."  "Sing" has an interesting glassy texture, but fails to produce any notable lower-end beats or melodies.

In my view, the best piece on There Is Love in You is "This Unfolds."  I don't believe I have ever heard a song that better epitomizes halcyon and idyllic days of yore - the sense of wonder children can experience is perfectly captured here.  I even have a Scriabin experience whenever I hear it - that is, I visualize colors (orange especially).  The steady drums (slightly syncopated 4/4 beat?) are a perfect backdrop to the beautiful main melody, giving the song some linearity to effectively counterbalance the softness throughout.  "This Unfolds" is practically perfect, and it goes on for nearly seven glorious minutes.

"Reversing" is a decent mellow, aquatic-sounding tune, but nothing on the level of the previous experience.  "Plastic People," on the other hand, is probably the third best track after "This Unfolds" and "Love Cry": it's highly pensive and brings out a mood that can't quite be placed or associated with a particular event, but it's very powerful.

The closer, "She Just Likes to Fight," reminds me a lot of some of Radiohead's melancholic, arpeggio-laden songs.  Four Tet has remixed some of Radiohead's work before, so I am not surprised to see him revealing their influence whether it was deliberate or subconscious on his part.

In total, this is a fine electronica record with three excellent selections in particular.  If you enjoy IDM by the likes of Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada, this is worth listening to, although it's worth mentioning that this album is considerably less eerie than those artists can be sometimes.

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