Hell, you know you’ve done a good job when you can get the hipsters in the crowd to dance. Four Tet was utterly amazing.
Albatross opened the night with their trademark future bass sounds, mixing heavy kicks with warped vocal samples, plucky strings, wobbly chords and shuffly, off-kilter percussion. New track, Murder, was a highlight, and while the crowd was fairly small at that time of the night, those who made the effort to come down early were thoroughly impressed. Jonti's music really took the worst hit of all the acts on the night due to the sub-par sound. Any subtlety in his tunes was completely lost within way too much bass, making the most important parts of his tracks such as the analogue synthesiser improvisation, the floaty chimes and, of course, his vocals, sound like a garbled mess. It's a shame, as the studio versions of his tracks are excellent.
Four Tet then showed many of electronic music's other 'live' acts exactly what a live act should do – play live. With the aid of lots of gadgets, including two laptops, effects units and MIDI controllers, the post-rock-house-garage-electronica-and-other-stuff producer reworked a wide range of his discography on-the-fly, from the uptempo, bouncy Pyramid to the garage-influenced Jupiters, as well as the dark, moody Love Cry (to finish, no less) and even some unreleased gear, including a driving industrial techno bomb. What was most impressive about his performance was the way he had no trouble rearranging and altering key aspects of the tracks as he played them, resulting in a performance that contained recognisable elements, but didn't just feel like a reproduction of his studio work. This freeform, improvised way of playing also gave him the chance to really bring the vibe up and down at exactly the right moments, following extended periods of ambient electronics with driving, crunchy grooves to devastating effect. Hell, you know you've done a good job when you can get the hipsters in the crowd to dance. Four Tet was utterly amazing.