On the second track off Fout Tet’s new album, Everything Ecstatic, a simple-yet-persistent drumbeat and a cute humming voice that sounds something like a bumblebee chorus make “Smile Around The Face” onomatopoetic-it’s a bit like a child diving off of a swing set into a pile of cotton candy. Often on albums of such esoteric electronic music, song titles, frequently boasting oblique symbols, have little bearing on the content of the track at hand, but somehow the London-born Four Tet (ne Kieran Hebden) manages to bestow the perfect name on each track.
Following the critical success of his last album, Rounds, Hebden paves new ground with Everything Ecstatic. While his pre-Rounds work has been referred to as “folktronica,” (or maybe “shoegazer for laptops”), Everything Ecstatic shows Hebden moving away from the twee into more experimental (and occasionally grating) territory: “Sun, Drums, and Soil,” employs jazzy drums and a recurring trumpet loop to generate a sound both earthy and modern.
Hebden describes the song “And Then Patterns,” as his ode to the make-out ballad. “I like a tune you can make out with your girlfriend to as well as trying to be difficult all the time,” he says. While “Patterns” won’t necessarily make you want to thrown down and suck face, the song is bleepy and ethereal in the best possible way.
In addition to his work as Four Tet, Hebden is also something of a remix maestro, having reworked songs from groups like Radiohead, Bloc Party, Aphex Twin, and Boom Bip. Everything Ecstatic is out May 31st on Domino Records.