Over the past decade Kieron Hebden has slowly drifted from his ‘folktronica’ roots, somewhat deserting his exploratory blend of diverse global sounds. Since then, Hebden has found himself at the forefront of cutting-edge electronic dance music, filling our dancefloors with intelligent and alluring rhythms. However, Four Tet’s ninth album, New Energy, takes a surprising yet wonderful detour from his previous musical direction. Fusing the beautifully crafted sounds of his earlier works with the dynamism of his more dance-oriented tracks, Hebden has produced an album that has the ability to both relax and invigorate.
The South London born producer has undoubtedly delved deep into his early sample repertoire for this release, crate digging within his own crates and certainly reaping its benefits. This musical synthesis gives the album a distinctly personal element. The melding of both new and old allows the idiosyncrasies of Four Tet’s approach to musical composition to shine through. Light and harmonious tunes of only a minute and a half or less permeate the album, generating ambient soundscapes that bring you down from the bulkier and more dancy tracks, enabling you to subtly drift into the next.
Whilst it is true that the album is compiled of the many musical components that have come to be emblematic of Four Tet during his time on the scene, a new energy unquestionably courses through the veins of this record. A truly standout album and in my opinion Hebden’s best since There Is Love In You.
Words: Tom Bradley