More of That Good Good: On Four Tet’s “Planet”

Will Schube takes a look at Four Tet's "Planet."
By    August 3, 2017

four tet

Will Schube wants to move to whatever planet Four Tet’s talking about.

Four Tet has made a career out of intellectually stabbing us in the heart, then convincing us why it actually felt good and was necessary. His music is a constant wringing of emotion, one that utilizes repetition while slowly teasing out cathartic melodies.

Kieran Hebden does something similar on the just released “Planet,” although similar is good because Four Tet does this sort of thing better than anyone else in the world. But of late, he’s veered off this course and down all sorts of odd roads. It’s easy to indulge a modern legend, but between his two track, 40-minute album, Morning/Evening, and the slow jam psych on this year’s “Two Thousand and Seventeen” single, it’s nice to see Hebden returning to the stuff he’s great at.

“Planet” is just that. The beat is deceptively dance-y—imagine Burial on scotch instead of Seconal. The vocal sample is chopped and mysterious, a yearning female voice lost in unfamiliar sounds. A sitar sounding instrument joins the mix, which has to be sampled, unless Four Tet taught himself some ancient instruments in the recent past. The track’s ambitions aren’t much higher than exploring this landscape and emphasizing each individual nuance of ecstasy, but if you’re asking for more than that, well, you’re gonna be disappointed in life.

Hebden’s great at using texture to map out his music, taking disparate sounds and unconnected ideas and uniting them under a common emblem. On “Planet,” the drums are the quiet catalyst, pushing forth as Hebden pulls ideas from wherever he damn pleases. When you hear a title like “Planet,” first inclinations are towards a foreign, alien soundscape. Only Four Tet can make that world feel like home over the course of seven beautiful minutes.