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Four Tet, "Remixes"

The first Four Tet compilation succeds as a decent demonstrational project, highlighting better Kieran Hebden's versatility with others' music than others' versatility with his own creations. While it is a good listen and a fantastic deal for two discs worth of material, I can't make a compelling enough argument for its absolute necessity.



Four Tet

This whole package is being billed as a collection hand-picked by Hebden himself, and it does have a decent variety.  Disc one, Remixes, captures both the more obscure and more bankable product: from Pole's "Heim," originally on a 12" single to the crabby vocals of Thom Yorke in Radiohead's "Skttrbrain."  Some of my favorite Four Tet remixes aren't included (like the nearly epic remix of Slag Boom Van Loon or the insanely infectious remixes for Kings of Convenience) but at 75 minutes, it's plenty of material to digest.  I adore the His Name Is Alive inclusion, and the Madvillain remixes truly show how much Kieran loves jazz and hip hop, a fact which gets relatively buried in the poppier Four Tet music. Songs from artists like Sia, Bonobo, and Bloc Party are also great to be included because I would never spend money on their music. Perhaps it should have remained a two-disc set of remixes of others.

Disc two has an overwhelming amount of unnecessary repetition and a lack of inclusion of some of what I think are far more robust reinventions of Four Tet's work. "As Serious As Your Life" featuring Jay Dee is probably the highlight of the disc, only available before on an obscure promo 12" and a free downloadable compressed MP3 file from Domino's Web site. The rest of the remixes only features material from the Domino days and leave strange holes here and there. Two versions of "Hilarious Movie of the 90's" are contained from the Paws EP, but "Glue of the Other World" is sadly missing. In the interest of time, however, I'm sure live version of "As Serious As Your Life" was omitted, but at over 23 minutes it's still worth more to me than the disappointing Battles remix of "A Joy."

I hope that with the collapse of Output Recordings, Domino can pick up the rights and reintroduce the world to some of the earlier Four Tet masterpieces.  I love the "Glasshead"/"Calamine" EP and am dying to get some of the old 7" singles on CD, but, that's perfect grounds for the next compilation: the B-sides and non-LP tracks with such masterpieces like "I'm On Fire," "Cload," and, of course, the epic brilliance of "ThirtySixTwentyFive."

Get working on it, Dominno.