Nathan Fake & Four Tet!
In the space of three hours I've listened to the new Four Tet and the new Nathan Fake.
This isn't a review! Nobody should ever write a review based on their first listen of anything. Think of this instead as an expression of how pleased I am to have such mind-expanding music so readily available.
Since 2006's bright and pastoral Drowning In A Sea of Love, I understand that every subsequent Nathan Fake album has been inching closer and closer to the dancefloor. It's not a journey I've been following – Steam Days is the first album of his I've heard since his debut. But even on the first listen I've been convinced to visit everything he's done in the interim.
The first half is strongly reminiscent of the work of AFX and Autechre. Layer upon layer of clipped percussion and bleepy analogue synths combine to form a sound that's somehow simultaneously cold and warming. It's cold in its mechanical construction, but in the sum of its parts you find such textures that sing of undeniably human emotions. This is the sound of robots struggling to comprehend love.
The floating Rue is the album's centre of gravity. It links the mechanical first half with the more organic and free-flowing second half. All electronic music used to be referred to as “dance music”. This is certainly music to which you can dance, but the songs are structured so amorphously as to sound less like floor-fillers and more like the glorious death rattles of experimental god emulators – like a natural, inexorable process that wasn't meant to be – a beautiful breakdown of order and rigidity – programmes transcending their programming and noticing, for the first time, the sunlight.
It's also been said of Four Tet's recent output that none-too-subtle shufflings are being made towards the dancefloor. Well, yes – the beats are more propulsive and less airy in their unhinged jazziness, but all I can say is that I'd probably go out more if they played this sort of music in clubs.
Pink isn't so much an album as a compilation of recent vinyl releases with two added tracks. However, things flow so beautifully that you wonder whether they were always intended to be taken in as a whole.
I'm sure that endless treasures will be found in the various valleys and vistas formed by these eight compositions, but at the moment I'm drawn to the closing trio. Pyramid is like the best party you've ever been to relocated to a desert plane beneath a stunning starry sky; Peace For Earth is a gorgeous digital canvas of analogue textures which could quite happily span for thrice its 11 minute length. Finally, Pinnacles is very aptly named: it could appear on a hundred albums and be regarded as the outstanding track. I've not been this taken by a single Four Tet composition since Slow Jam on Rounds.
So there you go. No matter what's happening in music, it seems that there's always something exciting going on in electronica. Both albums are available for less than £7 each on Boomkat. Support these digital dreamers so that they may buy congratulatory drinks for one another!