“There Is Love In You” by Four Tet

In 1957 much loved Science Fiction author John Wyndham wrote a book called The Midwich Cuckoos. You may have read it. The tale concerns the impregnation by aliens of every woman in the village of Midwich. The resulting children of this xenogenetic union display unsettling powers including preternatural intelligence and mind control.

It appears the space-aliens have been having it away again, this time in Putney of all places. Surely this can be the only explanation for the fact that one school in the South London Borough has nurtured a rather suspicious amount of talented musicians specialising in otherworldly cut-up grooves, digital-disco and moody head-nodders.

Hot Chip, The XX, Burial and Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet all count themselves among the alumni of Putney’s Elliot School.

Since first stuttering into life in 1999 critics have been trying to crow bar Four Tet into some kind of genre. The awful portmanteau Folktronica was apparently coined for his first album “Dialogue”. I have a horrible feeling that I also heard the word “Jazztronica” employed somewhere.

As bone-headed as that term undeniably is, there has always been a touch of the jazz to Four Tet’s avant garde approach.

Despite being largely formed of samples and loops, his improvisational technique has tended to sail a little too close to myopic self-indulgence for my liking.

However on “There Is Love In You” Hebden has reined in The Wankery in favour of tightly disciplined loops that spiral their way into some simply gorgeous melodies.

I have to admit to being a big fan of cut-up sounds and Four Tet’s masterful use of glitchy sounds transports There Is Love In You into another realm especially when matched with the housey rhythms he employs to glorious effect this time around.

Stand out track “Love Cry” builds and builds into a restrained stomper that might actually see Four Tet tempt the most introverted of intelligent dance trainspotters onto the dance floor.

There Is Love In You will not appeal to everyone’s tastes, it helps if you can surrender yourself to the joy in repetition, however I would stick my neck out far enough to predict that Four Tet’s latest will secure itself a place on my albums of the year list come the end of 2010.

Albums Of The Year 2009

So was 2009 a good year for music or a bit of a let down. I asked you all to let me know your favourite album of the past 12 months and I was literally deluged with… 6 reviews!

No matter because what I got was what I wanted. A nice, eclectic mix of choices, one of which I’ve never heard of, a couple that have crossed my radar but I’ve not given time to, a third  is a popular release I’ve not gotten round to taking a listen to yet, another is an album I bought my Dad for Christmas which has steadily worked its way into my affections and finally a winner straight out of leftfield which will probably surprise most of you.

Thanks to Ian, Ian, Jonty, Michael, Mark & Christian.

Albums of 2009 Winning Review: Frank Sinatra The Film Collection chosen by Christian Anderson Ramshall

With the risk of alienating everyone who sees the title of what I am reviewing, I want to assure you that I am neither a painfully snobbish muso, or on the b-side, someone who thinks the Zig & Zag single is height of music prowess. I am a music lover so please just bear with me. I want to blow the horn for the rare gem glimmering under those pop fossils in the bargain basement bin.

Okay, so I’m not delving into the nineties-throwback musings of Delphic or waxing vinyl lyrical with pride on the subtle foppish twangs of Grizzly Bear, but this album gives you an insight into someone we are all too familiar with, attempting to hone what would be that unmistakable croon.

How it came into our possession is that it was part of a £5.99 five CD set my soon to be father-in-law bought my fiancée when she admitted she liked Ol’ Blue eyes. No, a Frankie double is NOT going to be singing at our wedding either, after all, the same father-in-law labels Frankie as “…the worst shite devil’s music.”

Now, I think I know film, but damned if I could find one movie on this album I’d actually heard of. This was what primarily drew me to it, as the lurid yellow and brown cover which badly mirrors a drinks coaster you’d discover in Costa coffee, certainly didn’t. I admit, the start didn’t bode well and it had all the pleasantries of listening to an old man emptying his colostomy bag. By the time my finger was hovering over the stop button, track three had started and things took a change for the better.

Ironically titled ‘Is this the beginning of the end’, the awful quality of the mono recording added beauty to the song’s faded subtleties and believe me, you won’t believe it is actually Frank singing. He is unrecognisable as the ‘My Way’ man, but that is in no way a bad thing.

Albums of 2009: Only Revolutions by Biffy Clyro. Chosen by Ian Macklin.

Those wee scottish beasties have done it again!

This isn’t your average meat and potatoes slop rock, this is a fine helping of spicy haggis, kneeps and tatty ear food… deep fried!!Biffy seem to build their tunes with your classic pop song structures, but just as your getting comfy doing you 2 step disco dance they’ll squeeze in an extra beat here, or cut out an beat there, which will make your 2 step jolt like a robot with a short circuit.

They’ve chucked in some trademark syncopated orchestral builds, catchy, sing along melodies and some damn right moshing rock grooves.

Sure some of the song titles such as ‘Shock Shock’, ‘Many of Horror’, ‘Boooom, Blast & Ruin’, and ‘Cloud of Stink ( this being my favourite)’might be a little…despondent, but i can guarantee if you playing this album whilst driving you’ll have your foot to the floor with your fist punching the air wearing a huge rock possessed smile on your boat race.

ROCK ON!

oh and by the way, just in case you were wondering, my favourite line on the album is’ Well you scratch & you scratch till your face comes away’.

BRUTAL!

Albums Of 2009: Tres Tres Fort by Staff Benda Bilili. Chosen by Jonty Toosey

My number 1 favourite album for 2009 is “Tres tres fort” by a Congolese band from Kinshasa called Staff Benda Bilili. It’s a blend of Soukous and african rumba with funk and rap.

It’s unbelievably fresh and raw and uplifting. I also saw them perform live at the Barbican centre and they had the whole house up and dancing for the entire second half of the concert, a first in my books and I have seen loads of upbeat bands at that venue.

The fact they are mostly polio paraplegics shouldn’t really matter, but for me it adds that essential layer of reality into the mix and what you get is pure magic.

Albums of 2009: Sunny Side Up by Paulo Nutini – chosen by Mark Griffin

‘Sunny Side Up’ is an ecclecrtic combination of ska, reggae, soul and blues; which is deliberately not blended, but distinctive throughout.

Noticable tracks include the Johnny Cash eshe ‘Simple Things’, ‘Chamber Music’ aka Bob Dylan style and the final track ‘Keep Rolling’…right from the set of an Elvis movie. I have too admit though ‘Candy’ is a joyous celebration of LOVE…and it gets me everytime!

Albums of 2009: West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum by Kasabian chosen by Michael Shevlin

I’d never really listened to Kasabian, they kind of passed me by. But I thought that this was a great album, full of hummy hooks and crazy arrangements. It was also good to see a group going a bit left field with a third album and trying to change their sound abit. I loved it, but I

think the critical reception was mixed. That’s critics for you…

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