Four Tet (aka Kieran Hebden) adds something special to the FABRICLIVE series, with this the 59th compilation. The mix has a distinct narrative to it and unearths music that hasn’t previously had a great deal of exposure. This project for Kieran has become more than just the mix itself; it’s been an adventure into the past as he sought out not only classics, but searched for rarer tracks he may have missed at the time when he was immersed in the original 90s 2 step garage scene. The music is important, but the experience of finding so many forgotten records and producers became an intrinsic part of the story – meeting specialist record dealers, months of email exchanges with old friends and acquaintances, twittering, nights on discogs, dead ends and confusing leads. In the mix, forgotten gems reside next to current tracks that are dear to him and a number of his own tracks made specially for the CD – something he’s been doing for his DJ sets for many years. He’s also explored the idea of the club itself, sending his audio engineer friend Sasha Lewis to make field recordings from Fabric, which feature as a highlight and pause, breaking the mix into different parts – as if you’re moving within the clubs space to hear different DJs. In fact, the mix is somewhat topsy turvey, starting out fast and then slowing down.
The music ranges from experimental electronics, like Michel Redolfi’s ‘Immersion Partielle’ on INA-GRM that Kieran feels “isn’t the type of techno you get on a mix CD” to the wonderfully titled Crazy Bald Heads’ ‘First Born’ a great lost 2 step/ garage record. “It still sounds so fresh that if it came out next week everyone would flip out. I bought it from Sounds of the Universe in the 90s, it was sold into the shop direct from the producers. A label in London was trying to sign them at the time and got me to do a remix for a possible single. Everything fell apart though and the team of producers never did the deal and didn’t put out more records together as far as I know… so the remix never got released. Gilles Peterson had an acetate of it that he played on his radio show at the time”, and this unreleased Four Tet remix features later in the mix. Tracks like Persian’s ‘Feel the Vibe’ are preciously rare, a brilliant track that only came out on white label. “I don’t have a copy of this record and can’t find one anywhere. Persian wasn’t even able to sort me out with a vinyl rip or WAV of the track! In the end I found a guy on discogs called DaWreck who has a copy and he very generously ripped the vinyl for me so it could be used on the comp.” Classic grime came with its own set of problems, with Kieran buying up every copy he could find of Music Mob ‘Pulse X’ to find one clean enough to use for the compilation.
Favourite producers of the moment like Floating Points, Burial and Ricardo Villalobos sit next to UK funky classics like Apple’s ‘Mr Bean’, bought from a record dealer called Julien who specialises in UK garage, grime, funky, jungle… “He got me a nice mint copy of this. Apple then turned out to be really difficult to find to clear the track. We had loads of DJs and producers trying to find me contact details, the 4th email address finally worked, so thanks to Brackles and Funk Butcher for sorting it.” ‘Webers’ is an old Dan Snaith (Caribou) production, originally released under his Manitoba guise, “I remember us both being into tracks like Sticky – Triplets and So Solid Crew – Dilemma at the time and this track he did then that had a similar sound.” Making space between the music is Four Tet ‘Fabric’ “a collage of field recordings of sounds from in and around the club”. Going back to the 70s, ‘The Continuing Story Of Counterpoint, Part Nine’ is by early moog user David Borden, a man ahead of his time. C++ ‘Angie’s Fucked’ was a recommendation from “Trevor Jackson (one of my favourite DJs) at a club called Love in NYC a few years ago. Trevor released all my early records on his label, he was the first DJ I went to see play in a club and a big influence on me as a DJ.” Others like Active Minds ‘Hobson’s Choice (Tune For Da Man Dem)’ he heard on youtube and then tracked down the producer Jess Jackson, who’s now living in the USA as a successful hip-hop producer, but “I think the sound of this track is like a blueprint for so much music that’s around now… the way the bass and vocals are used.” The final tune is Four Tet’s own beautiful ‘Locked’, typical of his deep melodic sound and the perfect way to send us out into the bright morning light of EC1, or where ever you may find yourself listening.
Interestingly, the entire mix is constructed on computer, more in the way you would create a film score than a DJ mix. Yet every track is vinyl, with Kieran cutting acetates of all his own music for the mix, to ensure that the sound quality and vibe is consistent. It’s then mastered with no cleaning or leveling, to retain the hiss, pop and crackle of the wax. It’s these slightly obsessive details that highlight why we have this Four Tet mix. For Kieran, to do anything in these days of overload – especially of DJ mixes, there must be a purpose, something unique to offer, and it’s these details that are so crucial to him. We hope that you delve deep into the music and take as much pleasure from this trip as we do.
“This mix is not about my DJing. It’s about London and Fabric and nights out and my take on all that. The memories and the influences. I used old and new music, I used recordings of Fabric, and I made new tracks of my own for it. I hope people play it fucking loud and lose their minds in it and remember or imagine what it’s all about.”
– Four Tet
artist: Four Tet
title: FABRICLIVE 59.
label: Fabric Records, UK.
date: 19.09.11 (18.10.11 USA)
02 Michel Redolfi – Immersion Partielle [INA-GRM]
03 Crazy Bald Heads – First Born [On-Tick]
04 Persian – Feel Da Vibe [Same People]
05 KH – 101112 [unreleased]
06 Youngstar (Musical Mob) – Pulse X [Inspired Sounds]
07 Crazy Bald Heads – First Born (Four Tet Remix) [unreleased]
08 Floating Points – Sais (Dub) [Eglo]
09 Apple – Mr Bean [Appsolute]
10 Manitoba (Caribou) – Webers [Leaf]
11 Big Bird – Flav (Urban Myths Remix) [Nice n Ripe]
12 Genius – Waiting [Kronik]
13 Four Tet – Fabric [unreleased]
14 David Borden – The Continuing Story Of Counterpoint, Part Nine [David Borden]
15 STL – Dark Energy [Something]
16 Percussions – Percussions One [unreleased]
17 C++ – Angie’s Fucked [Music For Freaks]
18 Burial – Street Halo [Hyperdub]
19 KMA – Cape Fear [KMA]
20 WK7 – Higher Power [Power House]
21 Ricardo Villalobos – Sieso [Cadenza]
22 Four Tet – Pyramid [Text]
23 Red Rack’em – How I Program [Bergerac]
24 Active Minds – Hobson’s Choice (Tune For Da Man Dem) [white]
25 Armando Gallop & Steve Poindexter – Blackholes [Muzique]
27 Four Tet – Locked [Text]