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.