The eclectic British producer Keiran Hebden, most commonly known as Four Tet, has just released his 10th record, New Energy. The album is yet another masterfully crafted project from the chameleonic producer, who again proved that he has a certain disapproval at being tied down to a specific genre.
Following 2015’s two-track, 40-minute effort Morning / Evening and 2013’s more upbeat Beautiful Rewind, it seems Four Tet wanted a more minimal approach for New Energy. When asked if there was a conscious effort to simplify the layers on the new album, Four Tet replied: “I started wanting to make a really minimal ambient album… it came out more complex than planned.” New Energy presents a stripped back, gentle and cohesive effort.
Unlike most musicians who are bound to a record label, Four Tet is able to create the music he wants. During the Twitter Q & A, a fan asked if Four Tet receives record label pressures, where the producer simply answered: “I put the music out on my own label so I can do whatever I want.” He’s living the dream.
When asked which track he found most challenging to make, Four Tet said there was “Nothing challenging really.” It appears the comment by the experienced musician wasn’t tongue-in-cheek either. Prior to the AMA, Four Tet posted a picture of his studio setup and it’s fair to say that it surprised everyone. The image shows a greatly minimal amount of equipment for someone of Four Tet’s calibre. The tweet spawned a flood of responses from fans, musicians and everyone in between, basically transforming Four Tet into a meme.
This is where I recorded and mixed the album and all the gear I used pic.twitter.com/ncwoleHwYs
— Four Tet (@FourTet) October 25, 2017
As for heartfelt inspirations that generated motivations behind individual songs, there is none. On first glance ‘Daughter’ may have the potential for a warming story of fatherhood, but according to Four Tet, “I was hanging out with [my daughter] and it gave me the ideas for the track.” He says his daughter also came up with the idea for the album title, New Energy, which is also a nod to the overarching theme of the album – “Science. Climate change. Nature.”
It seems the producer’s song titles are created in a simple manner, exemplified by ‘Tremper’, which is formed from birds chirping at Mount Tremper in New York. Additionally, ‘Two Thousand Seventeen’ was “in some ways” a reflection of Four Tet’s outlook on the current political climate. The song was the quickest to come together from the album, which was completed in under an hour, according to Four Tet.
No matter how minimal and humbly produced New Energy is, Four Tet’s 10th album will take listeners on a journey unlike any other. It’s a testament to Four Tet that he can use such little equipment and still create one of 2017’s most spellbinding and unique records. The chameleonic producer has yet again proved he will never stop changing colours.