Trackpacking is a recurring series highlighting musicians that inspire me to travel.
A lot has been on my mind lately, and I usually fall back to certain genres of music to help deal with the stress. Post-rock, electronic, ambient – all styles of music that lend themselves well to extended zone out periods of meditation.
This makes the selection of Four Tet as this month’s Trackpacking artist all the more interesting. While excellent zone-out music, it bridges genres and defies classification. In fact, Four Tet’s Pause album is credited with eliciting the term “folktronica” from the music press. Despite this genrelessness, his sound is unmistakable.
Let’s get one thing straight. Four Tet is actually one man: Kieran Hebden. A graduate of the Elliott School and peer of other notable Elliott alumni like Burial, The xx, and Hot Chip, Mr. Hebden’s calling card is his powerful application of melody and emotion within loosely-followed electronic music structures. And really, strong melodies are my number one requirement when it comes to appreciating music. It’s the reason I can go from listening to Four Tet to Led Zeppelin to Old Blind Dogs to Thievery Corporation in one sitting.
I used the word “emotion” to describe his music. It’s not the most common descriptor, but his albums are laced with moody pieces. Perhaps it’s his ear for melody, but there are Four Tet songs that will conjure long-forgotten memories from your past and bring both a tear to your eye and a smile to your face. Really, that’s all I ask of music. Create an emotion, amplify an existing one.
Four Tet’s DJ and electronic roots shine through in his manic approach to remixes, everyone from Radiohead to Explosions in the Sky. Check out his list of remixes here. I had the opportunity to see Four Tet perform at the 2005 Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago (before it was actually called that) and he put on a (loud) show that had the crowd moving. Full fanboy disclosure: I went up to Kieran after his set while he was in the crowd and geekishly told him he did a great job.
As I start to get things in order for my trip to Argentina, you know I’ll have some Four Tet on my playlist. Maybe even a lot. His most recent album, There Is Love In You, is incredible travel music. Check it out!
Pack These Tracks
- Untangle, from Pause. Spartan. Driven. Analytical. A cracked smile. A moment of zen.
- My Angel Rocks Back and Forth, from Rounds. Devastated. Fragile. Childhood. A heart pang. A long sigh.
- Love Cry, from There Is Love In You. Anticipation. Exuberance. Movement. A night aglow. A fuzzy memory.
- Moth, a collaboration with Burial. Habits. Awakening. Flight. A dusty mote. A faded page.
- Apple Bobbing, a remix of Joe Goddard’s (of Hot Chip) song. Sunlight. Harmony. Carelessness. A week off. A thousand miles.
Create a Moment with Four Tet
- Write/read/work until the sun comes up.
- Ride the train to the next city, eyes closed or staring out the window.
- Press play, mix with wine, and invite friends.
- Jogs. ’nuff said.
What music moves you? Suggest something for me to pack with my iPod!