Sometimes you’re cursed by wanting to get someone to listen to an album about which you have nothing interesting to say.
“It’s good,” you say, grabbing your friend’s shoulder. “Rounds, the new Four Tet jam. You should listen to it.”
Your friend lifts a headphone off one ear, creating a one-inch space from which you can faintly hear a melting seven second pattern from William Basinski’s The Disintegration Loops I. “What’s so great about it?” he asks.
“It’s just like, I mean… It’s so good. So good.”
“Maybe later,” your friend says, letting the headphone snap back into place, locking you out.
What I am saying is that “you” is me, and you, reader, are my friend. And Rounds (2003), is so, so good.
Four Tet is a guy, Kieran Hebden.
Rounds is a sort of electro-jazz-folk. The dominant sounds are a variety of plucked strings, gentle sound effects, quiet, skittering beats. Hmm, that’s not going to do it. OK, I’m turning on my metaphor / simile machine. It’ll take a while to warm up, though. Let’s talk about something else for a second.
Rounds is probably at the top of my “electronic music for people who don’t like electronic music” list. Note: I have no idea what the mainstream conception of electronic music is. I mean, most contemporary pop songs are terribly electronic, the formula of some kind of bouncy beat + female singer on the top being such a winner. What instruments are even in a Katy Perry song? The now ubiquitous auto-tune transforms the human voice into an electronic instrument. Dance clubs play a lot of electronic music, right? Fat beats? Look, whatever most people think about when you say electronic music, my guess is that it is not what Rounds sounds like.
Rounds sounds like fat snowflakes falling softly on the back of a wild deer you see in a lush copse: the snowflakes make the distinctive white markings of a fawn and it’s as if you have just watched the deer flow back in time to it’s younger self, when your foot awkwardly lands on a twig, spooking the deer away from you, the animal’s quick movement sloughing off the snow and restoring it back to its proper time and age.
Rounds sounds like listening to your coworker in the next cubicle, whom you don’t know very well at all, stand up briefly to look out the nearest window and inwardly wish for the ability to fly.
Rounds sounds like a great hand taking all the tails of all the comets and fashioning them into the strings of a massive harp, the frame of which is the soul.
Shit, I better turn this thing off before it explodes and levels my building.