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Posted on June 29th, 2015 (2:00 pm) by Adlai Reinhart

I have every reason to hate the music that Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet, makes. It’s the exact brand of bloated, pretentious electronic nothingness that usually makes me want to vomit. His first single under the name Four Tet, "Thirtysixtwentyfive," was exactly what the name suggested, 36 minutes and 25 seconds of plodding electronic music that, while it did mutate and change, kept the same basic motive for its entirety. As someone who came to Four Tet through one of the shorter tracks, the 4-minute-49-second “As Serious as Your Life” (which I was introduced to via J Dilla’s remix of the song) from Rounds, this long-form method of electronic production was off-putting.

As far as format goes, Morning/Evening is similar to “Thirtysixtwentyfive,” with two 20-minute tracks, named “Morning Side” and “Evening Side” (go figure). There’s no room for picking your favorite track and listening to it on its own; the album is very much designed for extended listening sessions, as each track is to be taken as a whole and segues at a snails pace, with each new motif being introduced minutes after the other (save some of the busier sections of “Evening Side”). Although there are drum patterns at the beginning of “Morning Side,” and at the end of “Evening Side,” and chopped and looped vocal samples in both, much of the trajectory and most of the transitions of the album are driven solely by thoughtful drones and ambient electronic sounds. Usually, music like this is terrible, demanding relatively large amounts of your time to impart what is seemingly a minuscule amount of content, but I found myself oddly sucked into Morning/Evening.

Maybe it is that plodding, pensive pace that draws me in. Don’t get me wrong, I am still completely baffled as to just why I like this album so much, when I, A: usually can’t justify spending 30 minutes listening to one song and, B: cannot stand the culture behind it at all. I mean, come on, fans of this music call it “Intelligent Dance Music,” which is just the sort of pseudo-intelligent bullshit that fuels my most misanthropic fever dreams. Yet, as I listen to this incredibly calming album, I begin to care less and less about who else likes this music, and how much time I am spending listening to just two tracks. The fact is, as I am writing this, I am listening to Morning/Evening for the fifth or sixth time in the last 24 hours, as I find it to be excellent music to write to. This means I have given this album, this little monument to a plethora of things I find to be annoyingly full of pretense, around 4 hours of my time, which is a considerable chunk.

So, getting past the annoying cultural movement that is IDM, and the fact that Mr. Hebden so often embraces the worst tendencies of that genre, I had to consider this: Good music in its basest form evokes emotion, be it happy or sad, calm, thoughtful, or reckless, and to that end Morning/Evening is completely successful. Just don’t ask me why.

Tracklist:

  1. Morning Side
  2. Evening Side
    Four Tet - Morning/Evening Review
    Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

    Our Rating

    82 / 100
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