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Album Review: Four Tet -  Sixteen Oceans

Four Tet provides music to stay at home with.
Four Tet Sixteen Oceans Cover Art

In a pandemic, we must turn to each other for support. Music can also be a way of coping through quarantines and seemingly endless terrible news around the globe. Four Tet has released his new album Sixteen Oceans and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Four Tet has garnered a cult following over the past decade with his quirky, melodic and beautiful productions that defy one single genre characteristic. Sixteen Oceans carries on that tradition, exploring a new and exciting sonic color wheel to sample from.

Sixteen Oceans is a lush and beautiful exploration of how house, ambient and melodic house music all comes together. The album shines on the singles like “Teenage Birdsong,” the Ellie Goulding assisted “Baby” or “4T Recordings,” but it is held together by everything in between.

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The album opens with the upbeat “School” with a strong kick, shaking percussion and a soaring synth melody on top. This trend continues through the first half, though interrupted by the “Harpsichord,” which is exactly what the title suggests, fading after several songs of up-tempo beats and beautiful melodies to match.

The long, epic and danceable “Love Salad” allows Four Tet to craft a hypnotic composition that slowly builds and builds with synths, harp, acoustic guitar and some drums underneath to a gritty and low-lying finish. That dancefloor energy is mainlined with into “Insect Near Piha Beach,” which may be the heaviest on the record, but doesn’t skip out on fluttering guitars and fx.

There are moments of ambient bliss like “1993 Band Practice,” which leads into the largely beatless “Green.” Four Tet primarily keeps this geared for listening at home or blissful moments on a future dancefloor or field.

In a time when clubbing has been pretty much halted and electronic music fans are being told to stay indoors, an album like this seems perfect. Four Tet is outstanding at building great albums and Sixteen Oceans is another example of that. It is an hour that you can get lost in and we will need that over the next several months.

Pick up a copy here, on vinyl and stream below.

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