Four Tet – Pink

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Pink compiles six songs released through singles from 2011 to this point in time, with two songs – “Lion” and “Peace for Earth” – that were released as a single after the fact. If the word “compilation” bothers you, it’s your loss; this is just as good as almost any proper Four Tet album. Sure, it’s not perfect: the yipping vocal sample of “Lion” makes it hard to appreciate Four Tet slowly adding more and different sounds through its 11 minute runtime; the vocal sample of “128 Harps” sends the song immediately to shit; “Peace for Earth” could’ve easily been separated into two distinct songs since that’s exactly what it is. But for one thing, he takes care to arrange them in a way that works towards a cohesive narrative: the beat-less synth intro of “Jupiters” as breathing room after the beat-heavy “Lion” or the melody of “Pinnacles” recalling “Locked.” For another, it shows Four Tet’s breadth in a single – well – breath: from the Pantha du Prince-like “Ocoras” to the jazzy bassline that powers “Pinnacles.”

Yet, regardless of how well Pink works as a cohesive unit, the songs taken individually should’ve sold it anyway. “Locked” contains one of Four Tet’s best melodies (first appearing at the 1:55 mark) over addictively slippery drums that shows he’s learned a thing or two from hanging out with Burial. “Locked”‘s flip-side, “Pyramid,” sums up Four Tet’s entire aesthetic: music to soundtrack your walk to the club because it has such bounce to its beat that you’re hopeful you won’t be lonely on the walk back or music to soundtrack your lonely walk home from the club. The vocal sample is the best of the bunch, a pitch-shifted and sped-up Jennifer Lopez that sounds almost joyful despite what she’s actually saying (“I remember how you walked away”). Meanwhile, “Jupiters” manages Four Tet’s most holistic experience in the shortest amount of time: the first part completely beat-less and only synths and the second part completely synth-less and only beats before Four Tet combines the two sounds that you didn’t think would work but sound even better together than separately. Speaking of things that shouldn’t work together but do, and regardless of what I said about the song earlier, I do appreciate how the calming harps and anxious hi-hats of “128 Harps” exist together.

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