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on 27 July 2016
cool cool
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on 4 March 2015
i love four tet/thanks
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on 13 December 2014
Great album
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on 13 August 2014
An absolute classic. Don't think...buy!
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on 7 March 2007
Interesting to see how this CD has polarised reviewers' opinion on these pages to such a great degree. `Rounds' is certainly not an album for hardcore musos only, but neither does it give up its treasures immediately.

On the first couple if listens it sounds like a bit of mess. You hear a collage of skittering, cut-up beats, electronic effects and samples of `real' instruments and other found sounds all thrown together with seemingly no overall design.

Listen on and persevere, though, and the picture changes. Threads of melody and structure appear on each and every track and the album turns into a multi-layered treasure trove of sound. `She Moves She' features a frisky beat, gently plucked strings and a chiming percussion melody. `My Angel Rocks Back and Forth' is anchored by a heartbreakingly gorgeous harp string motif, so simple in its execution but so effective.

The quality does not drop throughout. `As Serious As Your Life' has plucked guitars and clapping frisky beats whilst the superb closing track, `Slow Jam' has an aching melody and the best use of a squeaky toy I have ever heard in popular music.

The music is so rich and dense that you genuinely do hear something new on every listed. I suppose `Rounds' fits squarely into the Folktronica genre and this style of music will obviously not be to everyone's taste (it would be a dull world if we all liked the same thing), but it is a shame that those reviewers who have been so negative about this CD cannot at least recognise the extraordinarily fecund creative process on display here.

I have loved music for about 18 years and this is one of my favourite CDs of all time. An absolute beauty if you give it a chance. Don't let the nay-sayers win the day - if you agree with me, vote `yes' below!
65 people found this helpful
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on 21 April 2004
Kieran Hebden's (for he is Four Tet) latest work is an exploration of abstract melody and tranquil beats. The album title draws partially on the notion of singing rounds and repetition. And this is evident in the crisp percussive loops, sprinkled with intriguing pizzicato banjo sounds, balalaika phrases, and the scraps of discordant sample that are perfectly scattered around.
The album is a feast of unlikely juxtaposition, such as the melodic harp and ghostly, scratchy echo of industrial metronome, overlaid with backwards samples of My Angel Rocks Back & Forth. Elsewhere there are sparse and soothing jazzy pieces, gentle rolling percussion, jangley melotron and hints of the Ipcress File.
Hebden says "This record has a 2am lonely feeling, because that was largely when it was made, on my own, in my little flat" - and that is just how it feels. It's an inspired and original collection of delicately chilled and often haunting, melancholic pieces. An album of rare intensity that feels like an honoured insight into the personal moods of Kieran Hebden.
6 people found this helpful
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on 6 May 2003
Much has already been written about Kieran Hebden's previous output as Four Tet, with descriptions centred on 'pastoral', 'lilting' and the unwieldy tag 'folktronica'. Certainly, there is plenty that summons up the spirit of woodlands and countryside in his alchemical blend of sampled chimes, strings, guitars and rhythms; this is music for lying in the park on a sunny day. But along with the atmosphere that his music generates, there is another big difference between Four Tet and the majority of electronica / IDM / whatever's digital honk, blatt and skree: that difference is a bedrock in beautiful melodies. And Rounds is full of 'em.
Picking up the template laid down in 2001's Pause, Hebden hammers it into a different shape seemingly at every turn: the 'Neptunes vs banjos' stylings of single She Moves She give way to the life-support machine beats and frozen funk of My Angel Rocks Back and Forth, whilst album centrepiece Unspoken builds and builds into a whirring epic of sorts. In all these songs and across the whole disc, melodies and musical motifs are scurrying around and popping up in unexpected places, circling and blossoming then being overlaid. In places this leads to a dizzying intensity of sound, and whilst Rounds may not have quite the stylistic variety of Pause (nothing as unexpected as No More Mosquitoes, for instance), it pays dividends in terms of consistency. Sure, this could soundtrack the sun rising over rolling hills, but it'll also brighten up far more prosaic activities like going to work, or a long train journey, rewarding the listener with music that puts a sparkle into whatever you care to shine it against.
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on 8 May 2003
After two very good LP's, Kieran Hebden's Four Tet project has finally started to match up to the superb work he does with his band Fridge. The latter's album "Happiness" is, at least to my ears, one of the best albums to have come out of British music since "The Bends". It was startling, experimental, working with a big canvas of sounds and yet always with the aim of showing the enormous uplifting spaces that reside in moments of intimacy - hence the title.
Hebdens Four Tet work moves away from the live sounds of his band to a hybrid of electronic folk and jazz, a kind of cross between Alice Coltrane, Matthew Herbert and DJ Shadow, and on "Pause", all peppered with a little Simon and Garfunkel. Sounds good huh? Well it is, but of the two projects, I always found Four Tet to be the less succesful in uniting the heart and head of his music. The albums didnt seem quite as alive, and the twitchy sounds that Hebden splinters and chimes with his melodies seemed to make the records more congested and blocked up, filled with everyday noises that sometimes created an organic ambience, but often just felt arbitrary. At this point I should probably add that they're still among the best things you'll hear from the past few years, but I had been hoping that Hebden would channel the ideas from those records into his band where they would be better executed.
Well, now its time for me to say that "Rounds" has proved me dead wrong about Four Tet. Not only is it better than the previous albums, it is also as good as "Happiness"; actually it makes a perfect sister album to the former. The romantic and mystical side comes to the fore, and Hebden proves on his own that experimentation is exactly what creates moving music, rather than being its antithesis.
Songs like " My Angel Rocks back and Forth" and "Hands" mix a lub-dub pulse of rough rhythms with shards of guitar strings scratching against each other, or the graceful motions of harp strings waltzing in circles across the track. In "Unspoken", some fat obnoxious drums come stomping in, suddenly to be subdued by a gentle piano riff that goes on for nine minutes. The beauty on these songs just seems to come out of nowhere,and then builds and builds until the space around you is whirling with light. Someone once said of Susumu Yokotas music that you put it on to do the washing up and suddenly find that its possessed your soul. Well, in a rougher, more wheezy way, "Rounds" does exactly that, only Hebden creates a quieter, more autumnal version, filled with memories. Happiness may write white on paper, but when it comes to sound, "Rounds" paints it on the air filled with colours.
One person found this helpful
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on 20 June 2006
Wasn't sure if I should get this album or not as the reviews seemed to sway from 'love it' to 'hate it', but I took a chance. I'd never heard anything quite like it and fell in love immediately. The style was familiar enough, but the depth and variety of sounds on the tracks was what made it stand out from the crowd, so to speak. The tentatively haunting beauty of 'Hands' followed by the sure footed kick of 'She moves she' is awsome and sets the mood for all that is to come.

It's not perfect, there are a few 'filler' tracks on here, but the album as a whole sounds beautiful enough, and more importantly different enough to stand out from all the other 'electronic' music out there at the moment.
3 people found this helpful
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on 13 June 2003
There is no doubt about it. Four Tet are an acquired taste. If you like it, you will love it. You don't like it, there probably isn't anything worse to listen to! However, as I do like it, I can thoroughly recommend this third effort from them. The stand out tracks for me are definately "She Moves She" and "As Serious As Your Life" which both have a more uptempo beat than the soothing rest.
There is no doubt that Four Tet are an extremely experimental outfit and you can hear echoes of The Orb, Orbital and even Manitoba through their music. However, this isn't a bad thing and the effects are wonderful.
Don't be mistaken though. This is definitely no "Pause" (their previous release) But buy it and try it and you will be as pleasantly surprised as I was. Sunday afternoons lying in the sun will never be the same again.
3 people found this helpful
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