Four Tet: A Joy

Four Tet's ferociously frenetic “A Joy” isn't the first Everything Ecstatic selection that springs to mind when contemplating an MC showcase, but there's no doubt it works well enough when Stones Throw affiliate Percee P transforms the piece into a duel between his spitfire flow and the pummeling detonation of Kieran Hebden's rumbling toms (a sparser “Part 2” version sets the MC's voice against a grooving soul-funk bass line and slamming breaks). In his 'quick mix' of the Percee P-Four Tet collab, Koushik's vibes gives the tune a jazzier feel without losing the funk.

Despite being treatments of a single tune, the 12-inch has ample variety, with mixes by Battles and Four Tet himself in addition to those already mentioned, plus instrumental versions of the Percee P and Koushik tracks which are welcome if superfluous. Hebden's own remix transforms the original into a tribal boogie mix while instrumental quartet Battles' deconstruction is the least satisfying of the lot—a bold re-invention, yes, but with only fleeting traces of the original remaining, the piece loses much of its appeal. Still, the best offering remains the original album version. Stoked by a churning bass line and handclaps, Hedben's immolating storm of cymbal splashes and rolls understandably becomes the song's focal point.

January 2006