After keeping us in the dark about there being a new album on the way all year, despite releasing loads of new material, Four Tet producer Kieran Hebden surprised us all when he announced the release of this, his ninth full-length, last month. After a flurry of interesting singles prior, the new LP 'New Energy' seems to see itself more as a collection of current interests rather than an intended cohesive album, making this far more explorative than we are used to.
Over the last few decades, Four Tet has been one of those producers that likes to push the envelope when it comes to direction and influence. The evolution of his sound has brought together a whole range of inspirations over the years, and for 'New Energy', it seems like he is more about experimentation and eclectic intentions this time around. With far less dancefloor-ready beats than we are used to, the album moves from one atmospheric soundscape to the next, giving us a release that is far more forward-thinking than much of his back catalogue.
As far as comparing this to his previous albums goes, 'New Energy' seems very much the black sheep of the family. With a less succinct sound, the album is more about the producer creating a playful release than anything else. Competent and unique as always, but just shy of his usual brilliance.