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Sparse and experimental sounds on Four Tet’s newest release

More abstract than his mainstream repertoire, producer Four Tet has once again released music through his indecipherable Wingdings-esque side project. Once again each track is unpronounceable, with one fan ironically commenting on his Bandcamp release page, ‘Favourite track? The one with a winky face, I think.’ A freeform IDM piece, its content is experimental and aurally diverse, energetic and spritely, following in a similar vein to previously released music under this name.

First track  ̟̞̝̜̙̘̗̖҉̵̴̨̧̢̡̼̻̺̹̳̲̱̰̯̮̭̬̫̪̩̦̥̤̣̠҈͈͇͉͍͎͓͔͕͖͙͚͜͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢ͅ  ఠీੂ೧ູ࿃ूੂ✧ළʅ͡͡͡͡͡͡͡͡͡͡͡(ƪ❍⊁◞..◟⊀ ̟̞̝̜̙̘̗̖҉̵̴̨̧̢̡̼̻̺̹̳̲̱̰̯̮̭̬̫̪̩̦̥̤̣̠҈͈͇͉͍͎͓͔͕͖͙͚͜͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢ͅ is nothing fancy, but it doesn’t need to be; the simplistic rhythms are compelling, breakbeats buried in the midst of twinkling synths. It’s distant but throbbing; the muted sound is almost nostalgic, recalling long-lost memories of electro nights something we can all relate to with UK dance floors still gathering dust. Over its duration this track gradually becomes more complex, with a heightened beat and glimpse at a tiny vocal sample. The rest of the EP ramps up to a faster pace, shifty and elusive beats creating frenetic rhythms.

Second track ೧ູ࿃ूੂ༽oooooo(ଳծູ ̟̞̝̜̙̘̗̖҉̵̴̨̧̢̡̼̻̺̹̳̲̱̰̯̮̭̬̫̪̩̦̥̤̣̠҈͈͇͉͍͎͓͔͕͖͙͚͜͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢͢ͅ l̡̡̡ ̡͌l̡*̡̡ ̴̡ı̴̴̡ ̡̡͡| ̲̲͡ π̲̲͡͡ ɵੂ≢)_̴I relies heavily on its main vocal sample to push the pace forward- as it tells us, it keeps ‘going and going and going’. The initial darker throb of an underlying bassline is utterly at odds with the light, flute-y tones played overtop, eventually becoming lost in the latter lighter sounds. It’s hard to sit back and enjoy this one, or to find a beat to dance along to- there’s simply too much happening here. In fact, it’s the last few seconds that sound more like a viable track- the isolated vocal sample, drum beat and bassline elements alone.

Evoking a strange ambiance, fairy-music as strange and elusive as its indecipherable name, the final track is the highlight of this project. Sparse chimes and an an echoing clap-beat expand into a finger- tapping thrum, building and growing and twisting like a living thing. The absence of this producer’s signature breakbeats is no negative point, but pushes the track further experimentally. By allowing bells and chimes to compose the melody, it’s wonderfully fluid, hints at hums and vocalisations combining into a reverent intonation at its peak.

However, this project doesn’t pack as much of a punch into its short four tracks as it ought to; its third track, the shortest piece, feels like an interlude that could’ve been drawn out more. The stringy guitar notes combining with hollow-sounding chimes, an amorphic electronic beat emerging near its end, it fits well within the EP but is woefully underdeveloped. The unique guitar and chime samples used throughout each track are effective, but occasionally cause the music to feel and sound a little hollow. Hopefully, future music released under this moniker will push the potential found here into a more developed and identifiable sound.

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