Four Tet

The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon is feeling pretty phenomenal at the moment. Four Tet is everywhere I look.

It all started with the two (very good) songs he released in collaboration with Thom Yorke and Burial in mid-December, “Her Revolution” and “His Rope.” I’ve listened to “Her Revolution” countless times since. It’s a Lay’s potato chip song; I can’t listen to it just once. I need to hear it again the moment it ends. It’s too good.

Around the same time, I read about Four Tet’s work on the upcoming Madlib album and got similarly hooked on the two tracks they’ve shared from that so far, “Road of the Lonely Ones” and “Hopprock.” (Feeling very fortunate to have squeezed an order in amid the hailstorm of web traffic when the presale went live the other day.)

I also saw that Four Tet released two new albums of his own over Christmas, and I was in the process of checking one of those last weekend when the strangest thing happened. While I was making my way through the first track, I hit pause to check out a YouTube link DJ Mentos had kindly sent my way — a haunting and groovy tune called “Tales Of Mystery” that appeared on a 1981 compilation of Hawaiian high school bands. (Mentos is a master of unearthing that type of buried treasure.) When that song was over, I restarted Spotify and sunk back into the sounds of Four Tet, not realizing for several minutes that I’d left YouTube open to autoplay another video. What did YouTube choose to play next? The very same Four Tet album Spotify was playing; I was unknowingly hearing different parts of the same song on two different laptop applications. Weird, right? What are the algorithmic odds? Then I remembered the name of the album I was checking out. It’s called…

I shit you not…

Parallel.

If you’ve heard its spacious, atmospheric first track, entitled “Parallel 1,” you might understand how that accident could fly under the radar. It’s gorgeous, with tones that appear and disappear like fireflies, and two layers of it can coexist beautifully, depending on where you drop in with the second. I’ve included both Bandcamp and YouTube embeds below so you can perform your own parallel listening experiment. If you’re reading this on a phone, it probably won’t let you play audio from multiple apps at once, but “Parallel 1” is well worth putting in your ears either way.

Ohbliv

Important merch alert: The Ohbliv beanie is back.

If you’re like me, you’ve been scouring the Internet on a regular basis for restocks of those legendary green and blue winter hats bearing the great Richmond beatmaker’s name. Maybe you were even periodically searching eBay, hoping someone decided to sell theirs. If so, good news: Thrash Flow’s site has version 2.0 in stock now, complete with a new color scheme and an EP of new music as part of the purchase price. The three-track Visions You Can Hear EP is officially the first 2021 album I listened to in full, which feels appropriate given how big a role Ohbliv’s work played throughout the course of last year’s listening.

Beanie order in, new EP downloaded, copy of Sprit Medicine in the mail… It’s great time to be a fan of timeless instrumental hip hop coming out of Richmond. Act fast, though; I imagine the beanies will sell fast, and being left out in the cold in this case is both figurative and literal.