Four Tet All-Nighter at Brixton Academy
There aren’t many artists on the electronic music scene who have generated the sort of ceaseless, and justified, critical admiration that Four Tet has since his breakout 2001 release Pause, so when last year’s jungle-indebted, garage-infused Beautiful Rewind dropped to somewhat mixed reviews, it was a real shock. It’s never been difficult to dance to a Four Tet record, but with Beautiful Rewind, its predecessor Pink, and his mix for the Fabriclive series all being released over the last four years, it feels like he’s been making a conscious effort to get us dancing, in ways that the music of his more mellow and pastoral beginnings never could.
After the success of last years Four Tet all-nighter at Brixton Academy, the announcement of this one didn’t come as much of a surprise, and with a line-up that’s gathered together such an impressive selection of Four Tet pals and dancefloor luminaries, tickets for the show sold out in under 15 minutes.
Joy Orbison is up first with a set that flits expertly between experimental house and techno, and with his head firmly glued to his turntables the tone is set for the evening; the night isn’t about watching any nauseating Guetta-like DJ theatrics, it’s about dancing with your friends to a night of house music so joyfully varied that even the cool-headed containment of London’s chin-stroking, hipster elite, who are here in force, is totally abandoned in favour of carefree dancing.
As good as that set was, the unabashed, disco-tinged vocals of Daphni’s ecstatically happy Yes I Know outshines Orbison almost immediately. Soon enough Daphni, probably the best DJ of the night, plays Ye, Ye, and in doing so confirms that there’s little in this world more euphoric than the wonky, pulsating bass of that track, and the sense-defying rush felt at hearing the only lyrics of the song: “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah”. The set draws a lot from his album Jialong, a far cry from the warmer melodies abound in his albums as Caribou, and everyone seems predictably glad about that given just how excellent, and danceable, Jialong is.
Floating Points offers a refreshing change of pace from the music so far, playing his signature selection of funky, almost soulful tracks, which the majority of the crowd enjoy, though quite a number do maybe unfairly seem to deem his set as the right point for a cigarette before Four Tet takes over.
The bass-heavy Kool Fm, with its urgent, MC-sampled shouts of “Hey, hey, hey,” surely awakens anyone in the building who might be prematurely hearing home calling after hours of boozing. Four Tet is his usual genre-hopping self and effortlessly jumps from crowd-pleasers to more experimental, darker numbers. After a pitch-perfect headliner set befitting of the boundlessly talented DJ, Hessle Audio labelmates, Pangaea, Ben UFO and Pearson Sound are tasked with playing till close.
The Hessle Audio team play reliably brooding sets that, in the 3-6am haze of things, are suitably easy to dance to. Ben UFO, as ever, injects the evening with some of his trademark darkness and though in all honesty it’s difficult to recall the specifics of Pangaea and Pearson Sound, it’s certain that they didn’t disappoint. Despite not reaching the heights of the previous sets, they did a good job of sending us to our respective beds with the welcome sound of breakbeats ringing in our ears.
The night, much like the near-flawless mixing of everyone involved, rolled on seamlessly, from DJ to DJ, and there really wasn’t one complaint to be made.
For further information and future events visit Four Tet’s website here.
Watch the video for Parallel Jalebi here: