Four Tet/Various LateNightTales

The ongoing and always interesting LateNightTales compilation series relies on the host deejay’s taste to be adventurous and Four Tet (aka Kieran Hebden) does a great job in doing this with his mix. Instead of gathering tracks to fit a certain niche, Hebden just sits back and rummages through his record collection for some colorfully diverse nuggets to entwine. His tastes are all over the map stretching from beat-driven free jazz and hip-hop to classic and modern prog and airy psych-folk. The focal point is obviously Joe Henderson’s monstrous "Earth,” which runs over 13 minutes and sets the pace for a dense listening experience. And even though the epic jazz-funk joint isn’t a perfect mood setter, Hebden’s mix doesn’t suffer from its conclusion. He keeps it lively by adding Gravediggaz and Madvillain (a remix by Koushik) into the mix, while Manfred Mann and Fairport Convention work their own magic to keep the focus on how sundry his influences are. He even provides an exclusive track of his own, a delightful rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s "Castles Made of Sand” that does a nice job of remaining true to the original while following Four Tet’s experimental framework. This might not be party music, but it works as a fascinating template for what inspires this innovative musician. (Azuli)