In Review...Four Tet, fanshaw

>> Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Four Tet
There is Love in You

It's been a fairly long road to Kieran Hebden's newest minimalist electronic record, but it's certainly been worth the wait. Hebden, aka Four Tet, has spent the last decade honing his chops (both in Four Tet and in post-rock outfit Fridge) and evolving his sound to this newest release, There is Love in You

Hebden opens with "Angel Echoes," looping a fractured female vocal line over a sparse electronic drum beat. "Love Cry", the second track on There is Love in You, clocks in at just over nine minutes, most of those spent on a simple (and far more organic) drum beat with sparse instrumentation. Like the rest of the tracks here, it doesn't feel either boring or too long, but rather establishes a groove and lets it play itself out.

Simply calling this electronic music, minimal techno or any other moniker is to do it an injustice; "Circling" builds without any beats whatsoever - only modular keyboard lines, while closer "She Just Likes to Fight" is driven by a decidedly clean guitar line and checked timekeeping. 

There is Love in You as a whole may not jump out and grab you immediately. However, I found the nine songs (one is a twelve-second sample of the in utero heartbeat of Hebdan's godson) flew by rather quickly, and before I knew it I was starting from the top and letting the record play out again from the beginning. 

-Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson

Choice Cuts: "Angel Echoes", "Love Cry", "Sing"
R.I.Y.D.: Boards of Canada, The Field, Caribou
Label: Domino

Dark Eyes

In 2007, massive Vancouver-based music conglomerate The Choir Practice released their eponymous debut on cherished indie-label Mint Records. It was, and still is, an impossibly gorgeous disc brimming with nude, echoing waves of choral harmonies.

As a contributing member of The Choir Practice, it’s really no surprise that Olivia Fetherstonaugh (who records under fanshaw) has an alluring, highly elastic set of vocal chords. And on Dark Eyes – her half-a-decade-in-the-making debut also launched on Mint - Fetherstonaugh knows this and plays to her strength, showing off her pipes all over this stirring, moody batch of veiled pop tunes.

Album opener “Diana” is built around – surprise, surprise - a looped, kinda spooky vocal riff. “Vegas” is a smoky, past-closing-time cabaret number; while the initially low-key and introspective “Rebecca” – an allusion to Daphne du Maurier's 1938 novel named, well, Rebecca – gets lit up along the way by warm and subtle tones.

Fetherstonaugh is known for taking up to a year to finish a song, working through the process assiduously, not letting an iota of sonic detail escape her (surely) confident vision. Dark Eyes is the prevailing result.

- Mykael Sopher

Choice Cuts: “O Sailor”, “Diana”, “Rebecca”
R.I.Y.D.: The Choir Practice, St. Vincent, Kate Bush
Label: Mint Records

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