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Four Tet

Four Tet

Everything about Four Tet is misleading, right down to the project name. Although often mistaken for a quartet by the uninitiated, Four Tet is actually the work of one inspired man, Kieran Hebden (also of the post-rock band Fridge), and his Santa-sized bag of samples, loops and sundry pieces of electronic wizardry. Though critics tried to pigeonhole him as a folktronica artist early on, Hebden has battled categorization by constantly challenging himself to explore new ideas and methods of making music. What was once a DIY side project has morphed over the past decade-and-a-half into his primary artistic vehicle.

While a vein of organic and acoustic sounds did run through his earliest releases, like 2001’s Pause and 2003’s Rounds, Hebden has never been a true folktronica artist, and has since branched out into various tributaries of ambient, sway-friendly (and occasionally even dance-friendly) electronica, effecting a sound something akin to Boards of Canada spiced with the tinkly micro-production of Oneohtrix Point Never.

Beyond tinkering with his own sound, Hebden has also kept busy remixing a host of other artists, curating the most recent installment in the Fabriclive series, producing albums for the experimental psych outfit The Sunburned Hand of the Man, and collaborating with a diverse cadre of like-minded musicians, from late jazz drummer Steve Reid to reclusive dubstep genius Burial to Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke. Perhaps the name Four Tet was inspired by Hebden’s seeming ability to be in four places at once.

In much the same way, Four Tet’s music has a way of surrounding the listener from all sides. It’s not music you move to so much as music that moves through you, hugging you tight in a warm comforter of rhythm and sonic patchwork. With up-and-coming producer Teebs also on the bill, rest assured you’ll have plenty of opportunity to dance your ass off, but by night’s end, Four Tet will have woven a dreamscape that will carry you home and keep you snug until morning. Even though Hebden’s work may be misleading, it doesn’t mean it’s not leading you somewhere great.