Much of this, the eighth album by Kieran Hebden under his Four Tet guise, will already be familiar to his more committed fans, as six of its eight tracks have been released as vinyl-only singles over the past year or so. For everybody else, Pink serves as a reminder of the Putney-born DJ/songwriter/producer/arranger’s subtle, sophisticated talents.
There’s something naturalistic about the layers of beat loops and jazz-inspired plays on momentum that run throughout Pink. While familiar dubstep textures inhabit opener “Locked,” so too does a mounting sense of ambivalence and, gradually, sadness. Conversely, “Peace for Earth” opens as a four-note space lullaby before expanding to become an 8-bit console game melody. Other songs begin with a cheapo keyboard cymbal beat or a sparky, snap-crackle-pop groove before darting off somewhere very different – toward a faerie circle of music box chimes or highly pixelated melodies. Hebden’s roots are in folk music, and there is something of the deep forest here.
It’s a fun record, though ultimately Sphinx-like in aspect. Five-tracks in, the first snippets of garbled vocal samples are introduced on “128 Harps,” and it only reinforces the gnawing sense that there is some kind of hidden knowledge at work here. Repeated listening will yield different results.