Four Tet – Terminal 5 – February 22, 2014
Over nearly 20 years, UK-based DJ, producer and musician Four Tet (otherwise known as Kieran Hebden) has explored a range of styles: from his post-rock and ambient-inspired work with the band Fridge to his loose, freewheeling jazz and electronic experiments with drummer Steve Reid to DJ sets at massive clubs all over the world, remixes of artists like the xx and Radiohead—and collaborations with Burial. On Saturday night at Terminal 5, throngs of folks greeted Four Tet ready to absorb his every beat, and he showcased an energetic and eclectic set, with hypnotic strobes and a shower of colorful balloons setting off things on the right foot.
A Four Tet DJ set is unique in that it manages to fuse all of his eclectic musical experiences and styles into a cohesive mix. For fans of his spacey, more ambient output, he’s got you covered. If you prefer grinding basslines and skittering beats, you’ll find them. If you love the way Four Tet can manipulate a vocal sample into a million different beats and combinations, he does that—leaving you shaking your head at just how effortless he makes it seem. Even Four Tet completists, who mentally catalog his many studio albums, remixes and live recordings, will have fun combing through the set to pinpoint recognizable samples and song elements.
Like any great DJ, Four Tet connects with his audience’s energy and knows how to time the ebb and flow of beats in ways that surprise and delight the revelers. And just as it should be, Saturday’s show flew by like any great night at the club does: an exhilarating multisensory experience of lights, colors, heat and sound. After an encore featuring a lively extended mix of “Sing,” from 2010’s There Is Love in You, all was quiet again, save for the popping of the last few balloons and the ringing in our ears. —Alena Kastin