Kieran Hebden's first proper Four Tet album since 2010's There Is Love in You, Beautiful Rewind follows a string of short-form releases that included collaborations with Burial, Thom Yorke, and Rocketnumbernine, in addition to singles issued on the producer's Text label. It consists of concise, stylistically scattered tracks that are alternately pretty and scuffed up, with the latter quality notably inspired by garage, grime, and funk aired on U.K. pirate radio stations. Rough breakbeats, jacking thumps, and MC and vocalist samples are laced throughout certain tracks, ranging from the jumbled opener "Gong" to the hypnotic closer "Your Body Feels," where a snippet from 112's Slim and ominous keyboard melodies and textures are eventually joined by stark bass-drum hits and claps. Those who go to Hebden for home-listening ambient material get it through the swirling "Ba Teaches Yoga," the fluttering "Crush," and the pattering sprites streaked across "Unicorn." One highlight, "Aerial," rugged/frantic and spangly/serene, fuses both approaches with astounding finesse. On "Buchla," the sampled MC probably isn't shouting out the synthesizer pioneer checked in the title, but he sounds close enough ("burgler?"), and the track is among Hebden's rawest, most physical work. While the album does seem rather patched together with a lack of focus -- it plays out like a pair of distinct EPs and a couple transitional orphans on shuffle -- there's an irrefutable charm to the restlessness.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman