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- Four Tet »
Having never been to Plastic People before, walking in to find that tonight's show is in a cramped subterranean bar is a little disappointing. With no room for projections, just what the hell are we going to look at whilst Kieren Four Tet Hebden plays around with his laptops and sampler-y stuff in the corner?
One suggestion is to close ones eyes and visualise the sounds as they're warped, manipulated and sent flying past your ears, watching the shapes slotting together and imagining the spaces in between. But that's hella unsociable, and this is hardly the best environment for such things. It'd be like sitting at home with some lush headphones (the venue's soundsystem, calibrated for their weekly dubstep night, does sound awesomely bassy) and listening to an exclusive, one-off version of a very long Four Tet track. Except while standing up and sweating, in a hot and crowded bar.
But surely you don't need something to look at? What do you look at when a DJ is playing?
Thing is, whilst Four Tet's music does draw a lot from hip-hop, and would generally be categorised as 'dance', Hebden really doesn't display nor grasp dancefloor dynamics in any fashion whatsoever. His loops and grooves get a solid head-nod going, but there's no flow to the set; breaks in the music arrive at seemingly arbitrary points, and beats fizzle out embarassedly. Similarly, there's no wit, irony or extravagence to the music or the performance. It's clever and impressive and, should you concentrate, interesting, but it just isn't very entertaining.
The introduction of elements from his better-known tracks diverts attention for a few seconds, but when the flicker of recognition passes you're left listening to tracks that, as beautiful as they sometimes are, simply work much better as background music at home.
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