Four Tet Leans Into His Strengths on the Masterful 'Three'

BY Alex HudsonPublished Mar 20, 2024


Kieran Hebden has such impeccable taste that anything he touches becomes cool by association. Last year, when he collaborated with populist producer Skrillex (along with Fred again..), he made stadium EDM seem practically high-brow — kind of like a Michelin starred chef who admits to eating In-N-Out while off the clock.

His latest full-length as Four Tet leans into that tastefulness, offering a streamlined set of eight songs that bounces between a variety of styles without going too far off the beaten path. There's the glittering ambience of "Gliding Through Everything," the vibey hip-hop head-bob of "Loved," and plinkly harps on "Daydream Repeat" that will be familiar-sounding to anyone acquainted with Four Tet's back catalogue.

Even when Hebden throws in a couple momentarily jarring bloops into "So Blue," they are impeccably placed, adding to soundscapes that are as masterfully manicured as any old master's canvas.

There's a humbleness to Three that comes across in both its brevity and familiarity, as if Hebden isn't interested in pushing himself or listeners into any uncomfortable territory. The straight-up new wave guitar arpeggios of "Skater" are the only thing here that really qualifies as a surprise.

But, as the album drifts away with the eight sublime minutes of closer "Three Drums," it's a joy to bask in the glow of one of the world's best producers leaning into his strengths.

(Text Records)

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