The title of Four Tet's new album refers to its two extended tracks, split into a "Morning" and "Evening" side. The release provides dueling meditations that are indeed best listened to at the time period they're ascribed. "Morning" moves with purpose on a skittering beat, but its sampled Indian singer and undulating synth tones feel like they're gently nudging you awake. As such, the 20-minute track evolves and begins piling on more geometric synth runs and string drones about halfway through, seeming to take flight as the beat slowly dials down to just a bass pulse and then nothing at all. "Evening" by comparison, begins more amorphously, unmoored without a beat, its vocal more divided, but it is no less affecting as its tones blink in and out of focus and its arrangement becomes more apparent. Given the suggestive nature of the song title, "Evening's" high-end notes call to mind the sight of stars and sound of nocturnal birds and insects, while its whooshing cymbal sound soothes. Like its predecessor, the track evolves and becomes more saturated with sound about halfway through before becoming more minimalist, its swaying synths evoking a dream state, though a heavy, thudding beat that emerges free of tones suggests nighttime hedonism or a mind-clearing erasure that comes with sleep. As a kind of concept album about how we begin and end our days, Morning/Evening is totally successful. It could be ideal for winding up or down, accompanied by yoga, meditation or quiet listening, but it also stands on its own as an intriguing pair of sound pieces that can be explored at leisure.
Lee Bannon – “216”
Lee Bannon’s “216” starts and ends with a simple piano passage filtered into ethereal bookends for a series of twists that gives “216” a dreamlike quality, where everything can change in an instant, from a simple hip-hop beat to dread-inducing tones and squelches. At just under six minutes, it feels inifinitely longer given the level of care given to each sequence, sort of like waking up from a five-minute nap and having dreamed up a lifetime. The Sacramento-based producer’s Alternate/Endings LP is due Dec. 9 on Ninja Tune.
White Fence – “Swagger Vets and Double Moon” (Live)
White Fence aka Tim Presley is one prolific dude, releasing wonderful lo-fi rock ‘n’ roll records regularly like it ain’t no thang. He’s releasing a live album Nov. 5 called Live in San Francisco, the first in Castle Face’s new “Live in San Francisco” series. The set was recorded at Amnesia San Francisco on a Tascam 388 for maximum lo-fi goodness. Except more live awesomeness from Castle Face down the line!