Week 5: “Unspoken” by Four Tet


Generally, I’m not a fan of any music genre that begins with the word “experimental”.  But Four Tet, also known as British experimental electronic artist Kieran Hebden, usually manages to strike a successful balance between pushing boundaries and giving the listener something interesting to listen to. True, some of his music sounds a bit like someone throwing a bucket of cutlery at a drum kit, but his 2003 album Rounds is pretty consistently brilliant. “Unspoken” is easily the album’s best song.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. Weird noises. The track starts with bizarre background noise, and as it progresses, more and more crazy sounds layer overtop. But all these strange and unfamiliar noises don’t bother you, because beneath it all is the familiar sound of the piano, playing a simple but lovely melody that carries through the song.

2. The tambourine that shakes every 8 beats or so. If there was a musical noise to represent a shiver going up your spine, that tambourine would be it.

3. It’s epic. At almost 10 minutes, this song is huge. But it builds perfectly, leads you through a storm of noise in the middle section, and then lets you down gently with that piano again, right back where you started.

Recommended listening activity:

Looking at a familiar city from a distance.

Buy it here.