2020: the year the Earth stood still for many of us. At least Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet has managed to stay productive. Amid the near-constant livestreams broadcasted from his home — which frequently featured a thrilling mixture of age-old classics and synthesis magic neatly matched by the bucolic setting of leafy trees that surround his house — he was evidently cooking up the slow-burning, meditative tones that would later become Parallel.
Months of confinement can’t help but make Parallel seem like an album of nostalgia for faraway worlds, and Hebden’s deeply felt sentimentality rings through its 10 tracks, each numbered like recollections in a quarantine diary. The first entry is an extended piece; kosmische textures and rain droplet rhythms unfurl in a vast 27-minute suite, the construct later giving way under the weight of a soaring drone. You get a real impression of time’s palpable dilation with errant voice messages and recordings of life’s activity. He ends the album on a similar note of reflection, the electronics stripped away to reveal a beautifully lively piano tinkering. While deep ambient music informs much of Parallel, Hebden quickens his pace with rolling electronic percussion and livewire synth leads recalling the vivacity of house, later rediscovering the cadences of his track ‘Baby’ in the crisp snares and reams of vocal samples on ‘Parallel 4’.
Naturally, Parallel is another striking LP from Four Tet, and after the year we’ve had, it’s exactly what we need.
Digital Track List
- Tiziano Popoli
- Burn the Night / Bruciare la Notte: Original Recordings, 1983-1989
- RVNG Intl. / Freedom To Spend
- Catalogue Number
- Release Date
- January 22, 2021