FOUR TET – There Is Love In You (2010)

I guess I should start by saying that the Four Tet album I’m most familiar with is the remix collection he put out in 2006. And seeing as how it’s been five years since his last album proper (2005’s Everything Ecstatic, a wonderfully abstract collection of glitched-out jazzhoptronica – yeah, you read right; I stand by that) I’m not really sure how well I can contextualize There Is Love In You for the uninclined. But I can try. So with that in mind, here we go:

The first thing I notice about There Is Love In You is how startlingly…electronic it is; true, Four Tet albums were never not electronic in some way, but this album seems to have more in common with house/dance music than with jazz or hip-hop. It’s hard to listen to a song like Sing, for example, and come to any other conclusion. But not every song on the album sounds like it was made with Matthew Herbert in mind (please, don’t make the mistake of thinking that because I used the words “house” and “dance”, this is somehow a club-ready record as a result – because it’s not); a lot of the songs on here follow the post-rock wax/wane blueprint to great effect, and these are the songs on the album that stand out the most to me.

Most of these songs are shorter in length (between two and three minutes), which is odd, because if post-rock has established anything, it’s that “brevity=failure.” Still, Four Tet makes these songs come alive despite going against the genre’s principal aesthetics. The most memorable ones for me are Reversing (a shimmering of cascade of ambient loveliness, calling to mind the solo work of Sigur Rós’ Jónsi Birgisson) and Pablo’s Heart (which is a more straightforward composition: think Dntel crossed with +/-). The album’s longer songs are easy to get lost in, which is both a blessing and a curse; nowhere is this more applicable than with Love Cry, the album’s longest song (over 9 minutes). Listening to it is like taking a vacation and then forgetting where you went afterwards.

While it’s true that There Is Love In You definitely contrasts with Four Tet’s earlier albums (in more ways than one), there’s still a connection between them that cannot be denied. The flow of the songs is every bit as steady as the material on, say, Rounds, and the electronic manipulation that takes place here is (like on past albums) used not as an effect, but as an instrument, as a compositional tool. As long as Four Tet stay true to these structural/philosophical points, I don’t foresee a bad album in their future. That includes There Is In Love You. Even though that’s the now in the present. Word.

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