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on 15 February 2006
My first experience of Four Tet was off the album 'Pause' - amongst the wealth of other electronic music that I had listened to over the summer, the organic and 'real' beats were so distinctive and relaxing that I had to go and explore what Four Tet had to offer.
Being accustomed to so many staple bands of anyone's electronica diet - Leftfield, the Prodigy and even the jazzier Mr Scruff, I found it hard to fully understand the point of Pause's underwhelming chilled out 'folktronica'. But it soon became apparent that Kieran Hebden was tackling songs from a completely different angle. Pause brought obvious melodies, took them to the abstract and drenched them in atmosphere - enough to conjure up many unchartered emotions.
So how does this relate to 'Everything Ecstatic'? Four Tet has basically taken this idea of the 'abstract melody' and enhanced it to a hitherto unseen level. But this time round it's far heavier and more accessible to a dance/electronic music fan. Straight away from the first song, heavy beats and a subterranean bass line get you wanting to dance. However, the real gem is 'Smile Around the Face', a favourite opener of a Four Tet live set, mainly due to its extremely catchy melody and crazy drums. It seemed as if Kieran Hebden chose what would be a catchy pop song and tore it up and just used snippets of it amongst endless layers of drums and samples and noise (in the best possible sense of the meaning). But it works.
What scores this album five stars is how throughout the rest of the album he manages to maintain the pace. Not only that, but he uses samples and textures that most artists wouldn't even be able to think up.
Naturally, this album takes many listens to fully uncover how good it is. The abstract melodies only are revealed with a greater understanding of the songs, but soon you will find certain samples genuinely catchy and exciting. Sun Drums and Soil, and 'And then the Patterns', plus High Fives all exemplify this characteric.
So, if you are into any kind of electronic music, I highly recommend this album. It'll get you dancing and in equal measures it'll relax you. In fact, it's just a damn good and highly intelligent album.
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on 16 June 2005
I cannot reccommend this album highly enough. Not only has it spawned possibly the best track of the year to date ("And Then Patterns"), but it is undoubtedly the best collective group of music I have heard in a lnog time.
Real drumbeats mix fluently with intricate electronic textures to create an experience that is both beautiful to listen to and entirely impossible to predict. Anyone who has heard "My Angel Rocks Back And Forth" will feel at home with this record, yet its appeal will extend to wider genres: Radiohead fans take note.
Another fantastic record from your local "Electronic" section that has transformed itself this year into a hotbed of innovation and inspiration.
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on 5 August 2005
This is a much more aggressive release than I expected from Keiran Hebdan, the reigning king of folktronica, which is obvious from the first track "A Joy," a big beat banger aimed somewhere between the beginning of Chemical Brothers' "Come With Us" and Squarepusher's more ambient insanity. Only "Sleep, Eat Food, Have Visions" goes a little overboard when it busts out all tribal techno three minutes in. The rest of this album is the sound of a producer hitting his stride in the studio and continuing to grow as an artist with every succeeding release. For the most part, this album is Hebdan's usual mix of eclectic instruments, worldly beats, and static production only classier than ever before with more attention paid to DJs and the night crowd than indie café patrons. Everything Ecstatic harkens back to the passion of the old school raver days while evolving to relevant. You'll be hard pressed to find a Four Tet fan who doesn't think this is his most entertaining release yet.
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on 26 July 2005
With 2003's "Rounds", it was beginning to seem as if Keiran Hebden was becoming trapped in the increasingly bland 'folktronica' formula that he had helped create. Thankfully, his new album "Everything Ecstatic" has broken free of those shackles and opened everything wide-up.
More raucous, more engergetic, more spontaneous than before, in some ways this is a return to the free-er, jazzier grooves of his first album Dialogue (my favourite).
The layers of these tracks take many more listens to unpeel than the relatively two-dimensional "Rounds" while the emotional impact may have you moving in two different directions at once.
This is the sound of Four Tet sticking two fingers up to his imitators as if to say "Just try and copy THIS then!" and then proceeding to destroy the room with an onslaught of just about every conceivable sound he can find.
Let's hope he continues to stay one step ahead of the game...
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on 7 June 2007
Kieran Hebden follows up the glorious folk-tronica whimsy of `Rounds' with a more energetic, beat-driven album in `Everything Ecstatic'.

The opener, `A Joy' sets the tone with its low, intense bass groove and pounding drum loop. The track then dissolves into a noisy, random sequence which is then sharply followed by the joyously catchy, simple melodic hook of `'Smile Around the Face' which does exactly what it says on the tin.

`Sun Drums and Soil' features frenetic drum bursts overlaying more shuffling beats, backed with Boards of Canda-style synth washes. It gradually builds with layers of horns and sax and vocal samples to a thrilling crescendo.

`And Then Patterns' and `High Fives', consecutive tracks, are the most `Rounds'-like on the CD, featuring a beautifully simple melody over gentle beats.

The closer, `You Were There With Me' is a seemingly insubstantial collage of bells, chimes and odd sounds, but give it a few listens and a captivating melody emerges.

The multi-layered sounds on this CD would be an utter mess in the hands of a lesser talent than Hebden, but he has shown a remarkable degree of consistency in following `Rounds' with another varied, interesting and thoroughly enjoyable record.
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on 26 May 2005
needless to say, it's amazing. anyone who heard the single (smile around the face) will have had a taste of the direction this album seems to follow...the title "folktronica" no longer seems that appropriate, but there seems to be a more electronic feel, with the usual free jazz influence (excuse the cliche). a bit more glitchy, a lot more dance-y, and very very happy. The depth of this album is unbelievable...every listen reveals something new.
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on 21 September 2009
much as i admire Mr.Hebden's Four Tet work - this is just ok , i listenend and listened to this over recent weeks to try and see if i'd missed something within but no - came to the conclusion i hadn't : the much trumpeted more rythmic "aggressive" beats sound reviewd elswhere just fails for me to light up any new new or even jusr plain interesting new aural pathways : sounding messy and contrived :neither relaxing/beautiful or engaging/upbeat.

try his "remixes", "pause" or the "my angel rocks" EP for better examples of this talented artist.
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on 3 August 2006
I had very high expectations of this album from hearing some of Four Tet's earlier stuff such as Everything Is Alright and Rivers Become oceans. However the amount of quality stuff on thids album is severly lacking. The first 2 tracks and tracks 4 and 6 are very good but four out of ten just isn't that impressive. But then Fuji Check, Clouding and Turtle Turtle up are merely fillers so that only makes 7 proper tracks, of which track 9 just gets irritating only a short while into it 8+ mins run time and track 10 is just pretty boring really; I'm a big fan of minimalist music but this track just doesnt have the ambient magic of some of Aphex Twin's work.

Few good tracks, mostly forgettable. Get Pause or something by Aphex Twin.
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on 4 March 2015
really into four tet/thanks
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on 17 May 2015
Great album.
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