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Four Tet - DJ Kicks

Four Tet, DJ Kicks

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

THE 26th in the popular DJ Kicks series features Four Tet, aka Kieran Hebden.

It’s billed as a mind-blowing experience taking in as many genres as there are tracks (which is 20).

Hence, old skool hip-hop and minimal techno combine with French prog, conscious soul and electronic experimentation to deliver a truly eclectic listen.

Four Tet fans will love it, while fans of Hebden should also take much from his work as a DJ. But given the diverse reach of the album, it’s very much a hit and miss affair that’s likely to disappoint as many as it delights.

When it works, it’s actually quite addictive. Stand-out tracks include Curtis Mayfield’s delicious If I Were Only A Child Again that explodes the album into life after the scuzzy electronic overload that is Syclops’ Mom, The Video Broke.

While Four Tet’s specially created exclusive new track, Pockets (recently released as a 12” single) effectively combines layered, stabbing synths and some dominant fussion jazz percussion, as well as a lively crescendo chorus of xylophones, chimes and plenty of electronic elements.

The 101 remix of Madvillain’s Figaro is a gloriously old-skool hip-hop romp built around an addictive beat and some nicely warped background vocal samples.

And the Getaway Car Mix of Group Home’s Up Against The Wall drops another slick hip-hop beat that runs in tandem with some really nice piano.

But listeners tend to have to be patient to find such rewarding moments as the album works overtime to source as diverse a collection of sounds as you’re likely to hear – from cosmic jazz, African thumb pianos, early two-step and experimental techno and electronica.

Such musical interludes – while worthy and capable of introducing listeners to different musical genres – tend to clutter up the flow and have you reaching for the skip button.

Hence, as good as some of its selections are, this latest DJ Kicks compilation is ultimately undone by the weight of its ambition. It never settles into a truly satisfying rhythm.

Track listing:

  1. Leapday Night – Behrman, David
  2. Mom The Video Broke – Syclops
  3. If I Were Only A Child Again – Mayfield, Curtis
  4. Out Rock – Stadler, Heiner
  5. Professor’s Here – Davis, Gary
  6. Les Soucoupes Volante Vertes – Heldon
  7. Les Yper-sound – Stereolab
  8. Dilemma – So Solid Crew
  9. Psychometry 3.2 – Akufen
  10. Baby Day – Animal Collective
  11. Figaro – Madvillain
  12. Love Love – Priester, Julian
  13. Pockets – Four Tet
  14. Psychosomatic – Model 500
  15. Taireva – Shona People Of Rhodesia
  16. Superspace – Quickspace Supersport
  17. Kneel To The Boss – Cabaret Voltaire
  18. Love Is How Y Make It – Gong (1)
  19. Represent – Showbiz & AG
  20. Up Against The Wall – Group Home
  21. Flutter – Autechre