13 Seminal Tracks from Four Tet DJ Sets

by native, Nov 23, 2018

Ahead of his show at Patterns, we've compiled some bangers that are unmistakeably Four Tet

Kieran Hebden, AKA Four Tet, Percussions, KH, (or sometimes even '⣎⡇ꉺლ༽இ•̛)ྀ ༎ຶ ༽ৣৢ؞ৢ؞ؖ ꉺლ△▃△▓') is, without a doubt, one of the UK's pre-eminent musicians.

Nine studio albums, compilations for DJ-Kicks, FabricLive, and Late Night Tales, four albums with jazz drummer Steve Reid, who played for legends like Miles Davis, James Brown, Fela Kuti, and Sun Ra, collaborations and remixes with everyone from Radiohead to Burial, and, maybe, the best live show in the world

Despite making his name as a producer of pensive, almost trip-hop-esque electronica, Four Tet's musicianship is boundless, and this can only really be appreciated during one of his legendary DJ sets.

Below, we've delved into some seminal Four Tet records - not necessarily produced by the man himself, but tracks that Hebden has brought to the fore in his sets over the last two decades and that demonstrate his versatility and status as an unmatched selector.

The Bug - Skeng ft. Killa P & Flowdan

Born in Putney, Hebden has always been an ambassador of UK, and particularly London sounds. Predictably, he was quick to discover, advocate, and play grime and dubstep in the early 2000s when the genres were still very much in their infancy. 'Skeng', from The Bug's 2008 album London Zoo not only encapsulates a moment in time, geography, and music, but wilfully rips the subs off of a proper soundsystem. Iconic.   

KH - Question

The track that blew the collective minds of the entire festival circuit in 2017. Produced by Four Tet under the simple 'KH' moniker, you get the impression that this track didn't take too long to make - a simple looped sampled pitched up and given some weighty drums - yet it caused a frenzy amongst electronic music heads akin to the days of 'Unreleased Bicep'. What's most impressive is that the sample came from a 1971 single from a since-retired-in-obscurity gospel singer.

Taraval - Aardvark

The latest release on Four Tet's label Text Records is a warped and wonderful breakneck techno track. A member of Dan Snaith's band Caribou, Taraval's solo ventures allow the San-Francisco-based musician to explore a much darker, twisted, plane of electronic music, resulting in one of the "most track ID requested tunes of the summer." 

Burial & Four Tet - Moth

One of a number of collaborations with the enigmatic Burial - the mysterious and legendary producer behind one of dubstep's most iconic records, Untrue. Years of speculation around the musician's identity resulted in some interesting theory, including that Burial was Four Tet. In reality, they just so happened to go to the same school in Putney (The Elliott School is also responsible for The XX, The Maccabees, and Hot Chip, wow). Moth is a beautiful, cavernous track that requires longer than the alloted nine minutes to fully explore. 

KH - Back2thestart

Supposedly made in 15 minutes on a plane, Back2thestart showcases Four Tet's surprising awareness of even the most mainstream pop tunes - sampling Cheryl Cole's 'Fight For This Love' and turning it into an impossibly smooth and catchy dancefloor stormer.

Bicep - Opal (Four Tet Remix)

Four Tet remixes Bicep. Possibly the most satisfying four-word combination in the English language. His slowed down remix of the Belfast-duo's adds delicate rhythmic tweaks and textures, stamping his unique sound on the remix but letting the original production do much of the work. A perfect, contemplative, end of the sesh closer.

Eric Prydz - Opus (Four Tet Remix)

10 minutes of constant build. The track responsible for this hilarious reaction in Ibiza's Amnesia where a crowd of confused clubbers began to lose belief that a drop would ever come. Patience is a virtue ladies and gentleman.

Ariana Grande - No Tears Left To Cry

Yes, really. At this point, Four Tet's love of good pop music is no secret and witnessing him mix Robert Hood into Ariana Grande into Taraval at Lost Village 2018 is an experience that we doubt many will ever forget.

Joe - Thinkin' About

One of the OG unreleased tunes that stayed unreleased for a long time, the irresistible groove in Joe's breakthrough 'Thinkin' About' is founded in its sampling of jazz vocalist Bobby McFerrin's incredible acapella 'Thinkin' About Your Body'. Released on Text Records, this is another example of a producer identifying an amazing piece of music and reconstructing it into something that fits the dancefloor.

Percussions - Digital Arpeggios

Under Four Tet's heavier techno alias, Percussions, you'll find a slew of Kieran-Hebden-produced gems, including this melodic, bleepy-bloopy slow burner which he used to open his 2015 set at Dekmantel. 

Mike Dunn - God Made Me Phunky (Kool FM Edit)

Hey, hey, hey. One of the only mash-ups in history that actually bangs. The track combines Four Tet's 'Kool FM', named after the legendary pirate radio station, with Mike Dunn's 'God Made Me Phunky' and the result is extraordinary. Sadly the track only exists online in the form of dodgy radio rips. A Four Tet exclusive. 

Ajukaja - Benga Benga

One of Four Tet's many curveballs, this Soukous and Highlife influenced record invariably sends the dancefloor into disarray, often building out of absolutely nowhere, overwhelming the room into limb-flailing ecstasy.

Champion & Four Tet - Flipside

Yet another collaboration which demonstrates Four Tet's versatility, Flipside is a combined effort with UK Funky producer Champion that sees the pair create a track so wonky that audiences weren't sure how to feel about it upon release. A wild fluctuating bassline underpins vocals from De' Lacy's monster 1994 smash 'Hideaway with some signature Four Tet breaks thrown in for good measure. 

Four Tet plays all night long at Patterns on December 10th. Tickets are sold out but keep an eye on our social pages for updates.

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