Kieran Hebden had every right to retreat from the folktronica tag stapled to his Four Tet recordings. Although he was the premier name in the sub-subgenre, and although his productions transcended even the cutest label that could be attached to them, the folktronica term was too clever by half; more importantly, no respectable artist in the indie underground can stand idly by while he's being pigeonholed. Nevertheless, the left turn Hebden has taken into jumpy Krautrock with 2005's Everything Ecstatic will make listeners yearn for the clever, nuanced productions he turned in on Pause and Rounds; fortunately, he hasn't completely forsaken his old ways.
Producer and multi-instrumentalist Kieran Hebden's CV certainly makes for singular reading. At 15, he formed a school band called Fridge. They were signed to hip London dance label Output, and released complicated instrumentals called things like Moore EH4-800 that straddled the divide between experimental electronica and the dreaded noodling of American post-rock.
It's become hard to hear Kieran Hebden's abstract theories as Four Tet without thinking of Dan Snaith's Caribou. Four Tet's Everything Ecstatic shares many characteristics with Caribou's recent The Milk of Human Kindness: both artists reveal themselves to be true believers in the wisdom of Can, both make certain steps to express their reverence to hip hop, and both have proven themselves to be fantastic and evolving producers. And thankfully, the Domino labelmates have honed their sounds in relative independence of each others’ competing algorithms.