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Four Tet’s Percussive New Chirp-Step Track: ‘Bird Songs’

Kieran Hebden / Photo by Getty Images

Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden has kept vinyl buyers busy over the past year with a steady stream of releases on his Text Records label. In just the past few months, he’s put out two new Four Tet 12-inches, “Jupiters”/”Ocoras,” “128 Harps,” plus a third collaboration with Burial, the single-sided “Nova,” which followed 2009’s joint effort “Moth”/”Wolf Cub” and last year’s “Ego”/”Mirror,” featuring Burial and Thom Yorke.

Today, Hebden unveiled the next Text release on his SoundCloud account: “Bird Songs,” a percussive, broken-beat techno jam credited to an artist known simply as Percussions. Whoever Percussions is, all signs point to Hebden’s involvement: Both the title and chirpy sound effects recall Four Tet’s “Conference of the Birds” DJ mix from April, and the deconstructed tribal rhythms have Hebden’s fingerprints all over them. Consider, too, that Four Tet’s FabricLife 59 contained an unreleased Percussions track called “Percussions One,” with Hebden credited as writer and producer. However, given Hebden’s fondness for collaboration, it’s possible that there’s another artist involved; it’s not hard to imagine Text artist Juk Juk having a hand in the track’s 2-steppy groove. The B-side’s “Rabbit Songs,” meanwhile, is an unusual cross between buoyant dub techno and clattery sticks-and-stones percussion; it sounds a little like a three-way cross between Basic Channel, Peverelist, and Steve Reich’s “Clapping Music.”

The EP is slated to be out “very soon,” and for the moment, it looks like it’ll be vinyl-only: Neither song is included in the track listing for Pink, a collection of recent Text sides and previously unheard Four Tet material to be released digitally on August 20.