For anyone familiar with the sound of the music of Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet), the choices on LateNightTales: Four Tet, a selection of Hebden's favorite songs, will be unsurprising, because although the tracks change from experimental jazz to psychedelic pop to techno, their underlying element -- and that of Four Tet's -- is consistent. They all, even those more organically produced and featuring a vocalist or instrumental solo, have a strong emphasis on rhythm and repetition, either in the accompanying music or in the melody itself. While Hebden may be influenced by a variety of genres (there's a song in here by Rahsaan Rolan Kirk, one by Terry Riley, another by Tortoise, and a fantastic one by enigmatic '70s singer Linda Perhacs), he is also almost exclusively drawn to a particular sound, a pattern, a soft layering of elements, all which are found in all his own work. At the request of the label, he does include his own music in LateNightTales, as well as a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Castles Made of Sand," which, after being dissected and gently put back together by Hebden, sounds very little like the original, but is pretty nonetheless, and more importantly, fits very well with the mood of the album. The overall feel is what's most important here, and even the songs that might seem misplaced at first glance, in fact work well with the whole upon closer inspection. For example, "2 Cups of Blood" by Gravediggaz, which is louder and more aggressive than anything else on the record, contains all of those ingredients that Hebden clearly loves: a strong sense of rhythm, heavy layering (almost to the point of messiness), and looping layers. This componential consistency ends up making LateNightTales: Four Tet a nice album that can fit comfortably in any Hebden fan's collection.
By: Marisa Brown.