Record Bulletin

Record Bulletin, 8/11: Four Tet – “Morning/Evening” and Shamir – “Ratchet”

Synth Lords

No Record Bulletin in over a month—chalk it up to taking a vacation, getting caught in other crap, and returning to work. Haven’t been keeping up with much new music since early July, so there’s plenty to catch up on.

four tet morning eveningFOUR TET – Morning/Evening (Text): Taking a note from the playbook of compatriot Burial, Kieran Hebden opts for two superlong sides instead of individual tracks and drops any of Pink’s hyperrhythmic pretenses for atmospherics. This skips over the truncated Beautiful Rewind and instead recalls the lush and colorful world of Rounds but on an protracted scale. “Morning Side,” for example, samples a Lata Mangeshkar vocal loop off a song from the 1983 Indian film Souten entitled “Main Teri Chhoti Bahna Hoon,” and the result is more a reimagining than a wholly new composition, in part a tribute to Hebden’s own Indian heritage, slight strings and all, sounding like an almost transformed and extra-long version of his “Atoms for Peace” remix. In no sense is this Hebden’s most technically accomplished work; instead, this is prototypical Four Tet, a succinct albeit stereotypical summation of everything Hebden does well. The biggest triumph here is that the two tracks that run about twenty minutes apiece don’t shift radically at any point in their duration. Instead they glide along steadily, evolving ever so minutely. But what gives it the win over Beautiful Rewind, and why it ranks among his best work, is how distinctly it evokes the unique sound Hebden has created for himself, that of the forever laptop-poet, the equalizer egalitarian, a man who sees mixing as an expansion of the human soul. A MINUS

shamir-ratchetSHAMIR – Ratchet (XL Recordings): Yes, the voice. Sounds like a girl, extremely high-pitched, etc. etc. So, too, was Robert Johnson’s tinny and shrill. Point is, similar as their music can be, Shamir’s delivery only differs from James Murphy’s vaudevillian baritone in that he’s a high tenor. But most amusing about him is the way he spouts off to would-be haters on first single “On the Regular”: “Illy to the fullest, you can call me cancer / No multiple choice cuz I’m the only answer.” And he’s twenty, so of course his biggest concern is breaking up with his gf (“Call It Off”) or having too many drinks because of a quarter-life crisis (“Hot Mess”). Recommended if you need funk that strays from hip-hop persuasion. B PLUS (***)

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