Listened Four Tet on His 155-Hour Spotify Playlist, the Coolest Thing on Streaming by Andy Cush from Pitchfork

Following the zigzagging path of his curatorial mind, the producer has compiled one of the most kinetic and personal playlists online—with 1,847 tracks and counting

Kieran Hebden discusses his epic Spotify playlist with Andy Cush.

When Hebden launched the playlist in 2016, it was something of a lark, a way to share the spoils of his crate-digging with whoever cared to listen. Within a few months, as it grew in audience and duration—he never deletes tracks, so it’s always getting bigger—he began taking it more seriously. Some Spotify playlists evoke a single vivid but unobtrusive mood, softly massaging the far edges of your attention while the center is occupied with dinner party conversation or lifting weights. This one is more like an ethnomusicology class, or an artwork unto itself. It asks for and earns your sustained engagement, reflecting Hebden’s vast knowledge and puckish personality in its perceptive associations between songs. At some point, for Hebden, it grew from a strictly curatorial outlet into a creative one


For Hebden it started as a desire want his own playlist, rather than trying to get onto somebody else’s. This then led to exploring the ability to create tracks for the playlist, which he did by creating alternative artist profiles. Rather than catering for people who do not care, Hebden’s intent is to create an artefact for listeners to explore.

Another example of a playlist that goes beyond the usual is Dan Snaith’s The Longest Mixtape, also in its own way, the Tapefear app helps with the engagement with serendipity.

Listened Sixteen Oceans, by Four Tet from Four Tet

16 track album

I love this album, but I wonder if I would love anything by Kieran Hebden, especially a long play.


Stereogum Premature Evaluation

Sixteen Oceans does not feel catastrophic — it feels serene and meditative. Gone is the static and the glitchy, unexpected samples that characterized Four Tet’s early output. Only its lead single “Baby” — featuring vocal samples from electropop superstar Ellie Goulding — recalls the club-ready bangers of his house-indebted albums: 2010’s There Is Love In You, 2012’s Pink, and 2013’s Beautiful Rewind. Even then, there’s a full minute-long pause in the middle of the track featuring little more than trickling water, crashing waves, and again, birds. When Goulding’s voice returns and the beat drops back in to finish out the track, the focus has irrevocably shifted toward those languid, contemplative tones previously residing in the background. Sixteen Oceans is more akin to Hebden’s 2017 album New Energy, in that it finds breathing space in moments with little-to-no tempo, interstitial ambient pieces, and bouts of warm sentimentality — compare, for instance, New Energy track “Daughter” and Oceans closer “Mama Teaches Sanskrit” — but this newest LP is magnitudes more pristine, a steady tide coming in to smooth sand into glass.