Four Tet remixes the spirit of 90s rave on "Baby" featuring Ellie Goulding.

When you're heavily immersed in electronic music it can be difficult to think back across the span of decades, remembering where you were - if you were there - and what you were thinking at the time, as you've lightly been along for the ride the entire time, taken every twist and turn and switchback and segue. It can be hard to remember how we got here in the first place. It's as difficult as seeing pictures of yourself as a kid or a teenager and managing to step inside the frame, putting yourself in that childlike headspace, even if it was only a few years ago.

On "Baby," Four Tet summons the spirit of '90s electronica and channels it into the modern age, with a modern twist.



With the help of Ellie Goulding, who takes the place of a house/soul diva, Kieran Hebdan creates a kind of progressive trancy pop electronica for the 2010s, an update on the light, levitating beauty of The Orbital's "Halcyon" or an airier, more authentic reading of Moby's Play, before it was licensed to death.

Hebdan doesn't just stop with the '90s trance, though. He manages to zoom out and capture the spirit of '90s, as a totality, including the chillout room as well as the mainstage. ⅔ of the way through "Baby," Goulding's digitally mangled vocals drop out, with a rising ambient pad and the twittering of birds to zoom to the forefront. For those of us, like we here at We Are: The Guard, who desperately miss the chillout rooms, this is a soothing audio salve, for sure.

Don't get us wrong. "Baby" is not nostalgic in the slightest degree. It sounds fresh and exciting by both today's standards as well as 1997's. "Baby"'s tailor made for widescreen festival consumption, which is appropriate as Four Tet's already scheduled to play the Lightning In A Bottle festival in May. With its bouncing, choppy marimba delivering a sort of South American feel, but like some holographic village in the Andes, "Baby" seems truly otherworldly, meant for dancing on beaches littered with driftwood and far, far from the mainstream crowds. Let this be a signal for a return to the weird, wonderful, trippy festivals of yore.

"Baby" is the most recent offering from Four Tet's Sixteen Oceans, which is due to drop in May. We can't wait to hear what else Kieran Hebden has in store for us. 


J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.