Four Tet finally released his March 2018 Essential Mix to SoundCloud early this morning, and we are so happy this mix got a second push that put it on our eternally-congested musical radar once again. It feels like Four Tet pushed the envelope on what defines his status as an underground icon to the realm of the truly legendary on this mix, which is far from your standard faire of experimental sound. In this two-hour mix, he played not only some of his own unreleased music including his Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith remix of “Planet” and an original called “Sway,” but also some Britney Spears, Destiny’s Child, Selena Gomez, and Basement Jaxx just to name a few of his more unexpected picks.
Although rather avant-garde both in song choice and mixing, this isn’t a heady, totally inaccessible mix to new listeners of Four Tet — I feel like it’s uniquely suited for any level of electronic music-heads and everyone can find something new they’ll like. When it starts to drop from ambient, world-music-inspired sounds into some soulful, booty-bouncing beats, I feel like those moments hit even harder because it’s so unexpected to find them woven into a tapestry of atmospheric tracks. Believe it or not, there was a nearly eight-year gap between Four Tet’s Essential Mix offerings; his last one before this was from 2010. And back then, he was certainly not dropping Britney Spears B-sides along with collabs between acclaimed synthesists (Todd Barton) and the late novelists (Ursula K. Le Guin).
This mix is on an entirely new level, and we encourage you to let it take you there in its own weird way. The path is far from linear, but taking the ride that is this mind-boggling mix makes me feel like I’m somehow a step closer towards musical enlightenment — get woke below.