In dance music, few boundaries are as powerful as the wall between the mainstream and the underground. Four Tet is the rare artist who has managed to knock it down. The endlessly curious English producer Kieran Hebden—who has been bridging gaps between far-apart sounds like spiritual jazz, indie rock, R&B, and techno since the late ’90s—surprised fans in 2023 when he teamed up with main-stage party boys Skrillex and Fred again.., transforming Coachella and Madison Square Garden into pop-up raves. What had become of their underground darling? But Hebden isn’t one to unpack. Here, on his 12th full-length, he veers back into the cerebral sounds he’s known for: lush, patient, radiant soundscapes that verge on meditations. “Daydream Repeat,” a clear standout, is twinkling and weightless, the sort of flow-state reverie that can lift you outside of yourself. “31 Bloom” has similarly club-friendly grooves but feels fully rooted, with synths and drums that rub together like sneakers across a dance floor. But no track stretches quite like the mystical, New Age-y “Three Drums,” an eight-minute panorama of birdsong flutes, rainfall textures, and pulsing synths that echo Moby’s 1999 hit “Porcelain.” As the song unfolds into an ambient canvas of sound waves and sighs, it begins to feel less like music and more like breath—a blissful sanctuary to slip into and get lost in. As a destination, it isn’t too far from that of his big-tent contemporaries; dance music, in essence, is about freedom and release. In that way, Three finds Hebden doing what he does best: finding clever, unexpected ways to bring disparate listeners into the same space.

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