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New Energy is the ninth studio album by British electronic musician Kieran Hebden, released under his alias Four Tet on 29 September 2017 by Text Records. The album follows a more uptempo, listener-friendly style than previous Four Tet records while containing elements of those albums and a variety of musical styles as well as virtual instrument replications of culturally-tinged instruments. The album garnered critical acclaim, landing on several year-end lists by publications such as PopMatters, Q, Uncut, The Guardian, and Pitchfork, and reached number 48 on the UK Albums Chart.

New Energy
Four Tet New Energy.jpg
Studio album by
Released29 September 2017 (2017-09-29)
Recorded2016–2017[1][2]
GenreElectronic
Length56:21
LabelText
ProducerKieran Hebden
Four Tet chronology
Morning/Evening
(2015)
New Energy
(2017)
Singles from New Energy
  1. "Two Thousand and Seventeen"
    Released: 4 July 2017
  2. "Planet"
    Released: 2 August 2017
  3. "SW9 9SL"
    Released: 25 August 2017
  4. "Scientists"
    Released: 13 September 2017

Contents

Production and compositionEdit

Hebden produced 45 tracks over the course of ten months, and fourteen of them appear on New Energy.[2] He initially planned it to be a minimal ambient LP, but "it came out more complex then planned," he explained.[2] The album, apart from "Alap," "Two Thousand and Seventeen," "LA Trance," and "Daughter," departs from the glitch-y downtempo sound from his previous releases for a very uptempo, polished, listener-friendly style that's still "reflective enough to be more appropriate for home listening than club play," analyzed reviewer Paul Simpson.[3] Despite this, elements from past Four Tet albums come together on New Energy.[4] As writer Andy Beta stated, it has "the low-key warmth of 2003’s Rounds, the free jazz at the heart of 2005’s Everything Ecstatic, the friendly thump of 2012’s Pink," and "the sprawl of 2015’s Morning/Evening."[4]

New Energy takes on a wide variety of styles, such as minimal bass music ("Planet"),[4] ambient music ("Gentle Soul," "You Are Loved," and "Alap"),[4][3][5] neo-classical music ("10 Midi"),[4][6] deep house ("SW9 9SL"),[6] new age dance music ("Lush"),[4] Indian classical music ("Alap"),[4] trip-hop ("Daughter"),[5] and UK garage ("SW9 9SL").[5] Described by some reviewers as the album's only club track,[3][4] "SW9 9SL" is named after the post code of Brixton Academy where Hebden performed at night-time events that were purely about community and people" which he felt was "important."[7] The variety also extends to the record's palette of sounds, which consists of virtual instrument replications of acoustic instruments originating from all across the world.[8] Daniel Cole of XLR8R suggested this was an "extension of his Spotify playlist of music from Muslim countries he made earlier this year—in retaliation to the Trump travel ban."[8]

ReleaseEdit

Four tracks from New Energy were issued before the full album was released: "Two Thousand and Seventeen" on 4 July 2017,[1] "Planet" on 2 August 2017,[9][10] "SW9 9SL" on 25 August 2017,[11] and "Scientists" on 13 September 2017.[12] Text Records officially issued New Energy on 19 September 2017.[13] Hebden contributed the first 1,000 vinyl and CD copies of New Energy to the online shop of the charitable organization Oxfam.[14]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?7.6/10[15]
Metacritic86/100[16]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [3]
Exclaim!9/10[6]
Financial Times     [17]
Louder Than War9/10[18]
The Observer     [19]
Pitchfork8.0/10[4]
Q     [20]
Resident Advisor3.5/5[5]
Uncut8/10[21]
XLR8R8.5/10[8]

New Energy received a five-star review from Q magazine, who called it Four Tet's best album and a "career-defining masterpiece."[20] Simpson claimed that the LP "still maintains the creativity and unpredictability that have always made [Four Tet's] work stand out."[3] Exclaim! stated that with New Energy, "the English producer's proclivity for irresistible hooks is delivered through a palette of strummed strings, wistful timbres and delectable breaks that make for a satisfying and evocative body of work."[6] Spin magazine's Andy Cush stated the album has "a desire to remove a listener from their surroundings and bring them someplace higher, no matter the means."[22]

Cole stated that it "finally feels like an album that is truly unique, and characteristic of Hebden’s style."[8] His main praise was its use of global instruments, reasoning that it "create[s] an open expanse, allowing room to breathe within the tracks, and a sense of stronger composure and musicianship on behalf of the producer."[8] The culturally-tinged instrumentation was also honored in a Dancing Astronaut review: "New Energy's serpentine instrumentation is a circuitous avoidance of sonic similarity, meditative and intricately-devised. Its tracks exude a panoptic enigma that is regenerated upon each new listen."[23] As Uncut explained the charm of the album, "Hebden's skill is to weave such ethnographic curiosities into the fabric of his own luminous electronica without it feeling like a dry curatorial exercise."[21]

Andrew Ryce honored it as "one of Hebden's most intimate and personal albums, with all the idiosyncrasies that come with that."[5] He also noted that "its tranquil spirit and moments of hope make it almost transgressive at a time when other artists are channeling 2017's climate of fear and frustration into dark, angry sounds."[5] Beta favorably reviewed the album, but also wrote that "at times, [Hebden's] attention to textures comes at the cost of exploring new terrain."[4] Some reviews of the LP criticized the album's overly-calm, unsurprising style.[5][19] However, The 405 praised the relaxed aspect of the album, reasoning that while it has its "inborn drawbacks" and the entire record "is a consolidation rather than a progression," "its palate is so substantial and nourishing that such slight ambition is peripheral."[24] Spectrum Culture panned the record's simple structure, reasoning that it continues the aspect of Four Tet's discography where each release decreases the project's "scale, size and ambition."[25]

AccoladesEdit

Publication Accolade Rank Ref.
ABC News 50 Best Albums of 2017
12
AllMusic Best of 2017: Favorite Electronic Albums N/A
Clash Albums of the Year 2017
21
Double J The 50 Best Albums of 2017
21
Drowned in Sound Favourite Albums of 2017
51
Dummy The 10 Best Albums of 2017
5
Entertainment Weekly The 25 Best Albums of 2017
23
Exclaim! Top 10 Dance and Electronic Albums of 2017
1
Fopp The Best in 2017
92
The Guardian The Best Albums of 2017
32
Highsnobiety The Most Underrated Albums of 2017 N/A
Mixmag The Top 50 Albums of 2017
4
The Morning News The Top Albums of 2017 N/A
Piccadilly Records End of Year Review 2017: Top 100 Albums
67
Pitchfork The 20 Best Electronic Albums of 2017
14
PopMatters The 60 Best Albums of 2017
9
Q Best of the Best: 2017 in Music
18
Resident Advisor 2017's Best Albums N/A
XLR8R Best of 2017: Releases N/A
Uncut Best Releases of 2017
36

Track listingEdit

All tracks written and produced by Kieran Hebden.[46]

No.TitleLength
1."Alap"1:22
2."Two Thousand and Seventeen"4:12
3."LA Trance"5:47
4."Tremper"1:29
5."Lush"5:12
6."Scientists"4:59
7."Falls 2"1:12
8."You Are Loved"6:09
9."SW9 9SL"7:56
10."10 Midi"1:25
11."Memories"3:18
12."Daughter"4:55
13."Gentle Soul"1:12
14."Planet"7:19
Total length:56:21

PersonnelEdit

Personnel[46]

Software[46][2]

ChartsEdit

Chart (2017) Peak
position
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[47] 167
Scottish Albums (OCC)[48] 70
UK Albums (OCC)[49] 48
UK Dance Albums (OCC)[50] 1
UK Independent Albums (OCC)[51] 9
US Dance/Electronic Album Sales (Billboard)[52] 10

Release historyEdit

Region Date Format(s) Label
Various[13] 19 September 2017 Text

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Lee, Morgan (4 July 2017). "Listen to Four Tet’s new single ‘Two Thousand and Seventeen". Fact. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Dexter, Robyn (November 1, 2017). "Four Tet answers questions about new album, 'New Energy'" / Associated Q&A. Dancing Astronaut. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e Simpson, Paul. "New Energy – Four Tet". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Beta, Andy (3 October 2017). "Four Tet: New Energy". Pitchfork. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Ryce, Andrew (10 October 2017). "Four Tet – New Energy". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d Przybyslawski, Corinne (10 October 2017). "Four Tet: New Energy". Exclaim!. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  7. ^ "INTERVIEW: Four Tet On Stance Podcast". The Quietus. 1 November 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e Cole, Daniel (29 September 2017). "Four Tet 'New Energy'". XLR8R. Archived from the original on 30 September 2017. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  9. ^ Wilson, Scott (2 August 2017). "Listen to Four Tet's new single, 'Planet'". Fact. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  10. ^ "Planet – Single by Four Tet". iTunes Store. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  11. ^ "SW9 9SL – Single by Four Tet". iTunes Store. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  12. ^ "Scientists – Single by Four Tet". iTunes Store. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  13. ^ a b Yoo, Noah (12 September 2017). "Four Tet Announces New Album New Energy". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  14. ^ Williams, Phillip (14 September 2017). "Four Tet gave 1000 copies of his new LP to Oxfam". Red Bull Music Academy. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  15. ^ "New Energy by Four Tet reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  16. ^ "New Energy by Four Tet Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  17. ^ Hunter-Tilney, Ludovic (1 October 2017). "Four Tet: New Energy — 'hippy-ish sensibility'". Financial Times. London. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  18. ^ Tucker, Simon (29 September 2017). "Four Tet: New Energy – album review". Louder Than War. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  19. ^ a b Mackay, Emily (7 October 2017). "Four Tet: New Energy review – hardly true to the title". The Observer. London. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  20. ^ a b "Four Tet: New Energy". Q (379): 112. December 2017.
  21. ^ a b "Four Tet: New Energy". Uncut (247): 27. December 2017.
  22. ^ Cush, Andy (6 October 2017). "Review: New Energy Is a Mellow, Mesmerizing Addition to Four Tet’s Visionary Catalog". Spin. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  23. ^ Fleisher, Grace (30 September 2017). "Four Tet’s ‘New Energy’ is a texturized, transcendent work of renewal [ALBUM REVIEW]". Dancing Astronaut. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  24. ^ Devlin, Kieran (5 October 2017). "Review: Four Tet consolidates two decades of boundary-pushing production into the decidedly satisfying New Energy". The 405. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  25. ^ Bromfield, Daniel (29 October 2017). "Four Tet: New Energy". Spectrum Culture. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  26. ^ Raible, Allan (27 December 2017). "50 best albums of 2017". ABC News. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  27. ^ "Favorite Electronic Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  28. ^ "Albums Of The Year 2017". Clash. 19 December 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  29. ^ "The 50 best albums of 2017". Double J. 3 December 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  30. ^ Adams, Sean (3 December 2017). "Favourite Albums of 2017". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  31. ^ "The 10 Best Albums of 2017". Dummy. 11 December 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  32. ^ "The 25 best albums of 2017". Entertainment Weekly. 6 December 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  33. ^ "Top 10 Dance and Electronic Albums of 2017". Exclaim!. 6 December 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  34. ^ "The Best of 2017: Albums". Fopp Official Website. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  35. ^ "The best albums of 2017: the full list". The Guardian. 5 December 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  36. ^ Boyer, Jake (18 December 2017). "The Most Underrated Albums of 2017". Highsnobiety. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  37. ^ "The Top 50 Albums of 2017". Mixmag. 14 December 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  38. ^ Womack, Andrew. "The Top Albums of 2017". The Morning News. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  39. ^ "End of Year Review 2017: Top 100 Albums". Piccadilly Records. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  40. ^ Sherburne, Phillip (18 December 2017). "The 20 Best Electronic Albums of 2017". Pitchfork. p. 1 Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  41. ^ "The 60 Best Albums of 2017". PopMatters. 11 December 2017. p. 6. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  42. ^ "When Liam Met Ed... The New Issue, Out On Tuesday". Q. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  43. ^ "2017's Best Albums". Resident Advisor. 22 December 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  44. ^ "XLR8R's Best of 2017: Releases". XLR8R. December 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  45. ^ "January 2018". Uncut. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  46. ^ a b c "New Energy". Four Tet Official Website. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  47. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Four Tet – New Energy" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  48. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  49. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  50. ^ "Official Dance Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  51. ^ "Official Independent Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  52. ^ "Dance/Electronic Album Sales". Billboard. 21 October 2017. Retrieved 13 November 2017.