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Uniting these seemingly disparate choices is Kieran's fascination with the microscopic detail of the music (something which informs the be-jewelled surfaces of his own records). Here the syncopated tintinnabulations of early Tortoise's 'Why We Fight' are echoed in the otherwise dissimilar 'Tinkle' by J Saunders, which itself mirrors the music boxes of the opening 'Haunted Feelings' by Rahsaan Roland Kirk (a song on which all instruments are performed simultaneously by Kirk himself!).
Elsewhere, Manfred Mann's Chapter 3 contribute the soft psych-meets-Muscle- Shoals pop of 'One Way Glass', which sounds like an instant missed classic, while French jazz great Jef Gilson, collaborating with Madagascar's Malagasy, on 'Valiha Del', fires off irregular rhythms which feel not
unlike like standing in a field of fire crackers*.
Forming the album's centre-piece is the 13 minutes of Joe Henderson's 'Earth', which seems to be cut from the same spiritual-funk fabric as Keiran's beloved Alice Coltrane, (largely because Alice collaborated with Joe on this tune). Slinky and sinuous and locked into a slowly mutating
groove, it feels like a meditation on being, until the jazz poetry kicks in at the seven-minute mark to let us know that it's actually about the nature of time.
There is also Four Tet's own interpretation of Jimi Hendrix's 'Castles Made Of Sand', which strips away the vocals and guitar to leave a pretty unique reading of this classic song from 'Axis Bold As Love', with fellow Fridge member Adem playing double bass.
"It's part of the remit that as well as pick records which have influenced you, you attempt to cover a tune," says Kieran. "Originally I had intended to license a Hendrix tune, since he's one of my favourite ever artists, but I was told it's really hard to license him, so I thought I'd have a go".
Linda Perhacs recently disinterred 1970 folk-psych masterpiece 'Parallelograms' is included because it reminds Kieran of studying maths. While Terry Riley's 'Music For The Gift (Part 2)' predates modern artists such as Aphex Twin with its early 60s manipulation of multi-track tapes
(here of Chet Baker) to make free jazz out of pure jazz. The repeated phrase "She moves" later became the inspiration for Four Tet's celebrated "She Moves She" single.
Of the Tortoise tune Kieran says: "'Why We Fight' was the first thing I ever heard by Tortoise, when they were a much heavier and more intense band. It made me see that there were way more possibilities to music than I'd previously considered." Reason enough for inclusion here I'm sure
Koushik's 'Battle Rhymes for Battle Times' was the first release on Keiran's own Text label a couple of years back.
Four Tet's 'Late Night Tales' is the 12th in the 'Late Night Tales' series, following on from Nightmares On Wax, Howie B, Rae & Christian, Fila Brazilia, Turin Breaks, Groove Armada, Zero 7, Kid Loco, Tommy Guerrero and Jamiroquai. In it's four short years it has clocked up over half a million
cd sales and still continues to grow.
For his part Kieran has spent much of the last year touring the world with the likes of Stereolab, Manitoba and Tortoise, as well as producing James Yorkston's album and - currently - Beth Orton. He is halfway through a new Fridge album and expects to spend the rest of this year starting the next Four Tet record. He has recently finished a remix of Madlib for Stones Throw Records, released a split 7-inch with Hella, and earlier recorded a 12-inch tribute to Jef Gilson on a French independent.
1. Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Haunted Feelings - Atlantic
2. Koushik - Battle rhymes for battle times - Text
3. Hal Baine - Wiggy (edit) - Universal
4. Manfred Mann's Chapter 3 - One way glass - Vertigo
5. Terry Riley - Music for the gift (part 2) - Cortical foundation
6. Max Roach (M'Boom) - January V - Columbia
7. Tortoise - Why we fight - Soul Static Sound
8. Gravediggaz - 2 cups of blood - Gee Street
9. Smoke - Griffo (edit) - MPS
10. The Sun Ra Arkestra - Nuclear war (Live version) - Praxis
11. Joe Henderson - Earth - Milestone
12. Linda Perhacs - Parallelograms - The wild places
13. Four Tet - Castles made of sand
14. Jef Gilson + Malagasy - Valiha Del - Palm
15. Fairport Convention - Tale in hard time - Island
16. J Saunders - Tinkle - De Wolfe
17. Icarus - Benevolant Incubator - n/a
18. Manitoba - 218 Beverley - Leaf