Four Tet: DJ-Kicks

Name another mix that includes cuts by Curtis Mayfield, Julian Priester, and Gong, or follows Akufen (“Psychometry 3.2”) with not only Animal Collective (“Baby Day”) but Madvillain (“Figaro (101 Remix)”) too. Kieran Hebden's Four Tet stab at the DJ-Kicks series is as eclectic and as explorative as those familiar with his recent projects (last year's Everything Ecstatic and The Exchange Session Vol. 1, his collaboration with drummer Steve Reid) would expect; at the very least, the set clearly indicates that immeasurable distance now separates his restless present-day sensibility from Rounds' 'folktronic' focus. The new disc is less a flowing dance mix than a radio set, the kind the coolest DJ assembles for a cadre of night crawlers hungry for left-field obscurities. Though the set sidesteps stylistic pigeonholing, So Solid Crew's “Dillema” and “Pockets,” Hebden's single new original, embrace a bleepy electro-funk style, a move that hopefully foreshadows the next Four Tet incarnation (Syclops' “Mom, The Video Broke” could just as easily be Hebden under an alias, so strongly does its loose drum attack and spacey funk suggest his own work). The mix encompasses jazz cuts (Heiner Stadler's “Out-Rock”) and hip-hop (Showbiz & A.G.'s “Represent”) and features inspired choices like Curtis Mayfield's grooving “If I Were Only A Child Again” and Autechre's “Flutter,” but it's ultimately more 'Sun Ra' than 'Villalobos'—refreshingly so.

June 2006