Four Tet’s Morning/Evening is a delightful, if slightly repetitive journey through a colourful electronic soundscape. There is a strong experimental edge to the album, which incorporates all the fizzes, clangs and ethereal vocals that Four Tet’s work has been characterised by over his impressive seventeen-year career. Morning/Evening keeps it fairly minimal, making a big atmospheric impact without the use of many instruments. The two-track album could almost be described as being too minimal, and uninteresting when compared to similar ambient artists, such as Caribou and Jamie XX. Since beginning his career in Fridge, a band founded with two high school friends, Kerian Hiebdan AKA Four Tet has grown to a musical force to be reckoned with. Collaborating with the likes of Bonobo and The XX, and boasting over eight studio albums to date, he continues to make headway into both the mainstream and experimental music scene.
Morning/Evening is a two-track album, with each track clocking in at about twenty minutes. Four Tet’s previous albums have fitted together neatly as a story, with each track playing its part only to blend gently into the next. Therefore this kind of two track mix complements Four Tet’s style brilliantly, making Morning/Evening very easy to meander through without really noticing. The two tracks, Morning and Evening, also complement each other smoothly without sounding too similar. Morning begins with the atmospheric, chanting vocals that Four Tet has mastered in the last few years, especially prominent in his 2013 album Beautiful Rewind. Much has been said of the hypnotic nature of Four Tet’s music and Morning/Evening certainly delivers on that front, lulling the listener with a gentle and methodical beat.
It’s pretty clear that Four Tet’s work highly emotive. You can truly appreciate pretty much all of his previous albums simply for the pleasing selection of noises that he’s managed to bring together. However, despite this I’ve always found Four Tet’s music disappointingly unfulfilling. There always seems to be an emptiness in his tracks which you can’t quite put your finger on; a lack of change and substance that just doesn’t satisfy the ear. Morning/Evening suffers from this strange melancholy also; Morning especially doesn’t have a strong musical bite, and falls helplessly into the realms of background noise. Perhaps Morning/Evening can best be likened to a spiritual chanting ritual, in the sense that its repetitive nature brings upon a sense of almost hypnotised calm.
Morning/Evening in many ways is a step away from experimental music. Beautiful Rewind (2013) certainly featured a more ‘club friendly sound’, and was heavily inspired by Four Tet’s time djing at clubs such as London’s Plastic People. Morning/Evening takes a similar step away from his earlier, more jarring experimental tracks (see Turtle Turtle on Everything Ecstatic II 2006), toward a more calm and easy listening soundscape. Overall Morning/Evening is pleasant enough, but lacks the substance needed to engage the listener intently. If you are already a Four Tet fan, then you will probably extremely appreciate this album and find elements that you are already familiar with. Catch Four Tet on the 16th of July at the Hippodrome in London, or the 17th of July at the Mayfield Depot in Manchester.