Rounds - Four Tet

Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 26
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 26
  3. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. 100
    It's the freshest, most exciting and far-reaching left-field album in years. [Jun 2003, p.102]
  2. A trove of bewitching melody and subtle invention, Rounds succeeds not only as a meticulously conceived piece of art but also as a moving expression of human warmth.
  3. You may not get to sing along, but this is not ambient music; it is immersive and involving.
  4. Charming, civilized, childish, Kieran Hebden imagines an aural space in which electronic malfunction is cute rather than annoying or ominous.
  5. 91
    Rounds is a more varied trip, with a darker vibe suggesting the influence of Hebden's labelmate Dan Snaith of Manitoba. [Aug 2003, p.118]
  6. Soul music full of remarkable sonic ideas.
  7. A beautiful, engaging, enchanting record.
  8. Rounds is a perfect mix of subdued chill-out music and up-tempo beats.
  9. An album that's both effortlessly confident of its sound and monumentally fearless of introducing cohesive surprises.
  10. Now, rather than trying to replay his roots and influences, he’s incorporating them as threads in the in the tapestry of his own rich, distinctly beautiful sound.
  11. Rounds contains a new underlying sonic scrape that is brisk and windy and distinctly more dynamic than Hebden's previous, more placid outings, but the signature dense soul of his work is the same.
  12. Rather than lose control of his programmed loops, Hebden sounds completely in control, the conductor of an invisible digital orchestra, changing gears on a whim.
  13. If you've liked any of his previous work, you won't go wrong here.
  14. What gives this record its internal order, and makes it stand out over previous laptop explorations of immense record collections, is the simplicity of the other genres that he dabbles and draws upon to flesh out the beat.
  15. One of the essential electronic platters of the year. [#5, p.106]
  16. 80
    Hebden treats software as a rocky road to hummable compositions of seductively intricate invention. [#17, p.135]
  17. 80
    Simultaneously builds and deconstructs the strides made with Pause, resulting in an even more organic blend of quiet but muscular compositions. [Jun 2003, p.93]
  18. The record offers something to nearly every audience that could approach it, with a bit of a groove for electronic fans, an obtuse sense of music-making for experimentalists, and a dreamy melodicism sure to endear it to indie-pop fans.
  19. This is maverick electronica without the headaches. [Jul 2003, p.103]
  20. Consists entirely of samples yet sounds as organic as a 1960 Impulse! LP, largely because Hebden broadens his instrumental palette, fattens his beats and even gets cinematic. [June 2003, p.109]
  21. 80
    With Rounds, Hebden has found the secret meeting place for man and machine; he uses his cunning to exploit it and all of its startling possibilities. [#59, p.94]
  22. Although Rounds isn't quite the jaw-dropping masterpiece that Manitoba's Up in Flames is, and despite the fact that the album lags on the meandering "And They All Look Broken Hearted", it's still a remarkable record, one that, like the work of Dan Snaith, gives a usually stale musical genre a undeniably human feel.
  23. As Four Tet, Hebden has devised a musical identity that is distinctly different from his work with Fridge, but both projects share a passion for defying boundaries. [#231, p.60]
  24. Sensitive ones will fall in love instantly; Fat Beats futurists might wait for the Jay Dee remix due later this year.
  25. Rounds is almost accidentally poignant--it's like hearing shattered transmissions of sentimental old music. [15 May 2003, p.134]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 37 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 19
  2. Negative: 1 out of 19
  1. Dec 20, 2013
    This album just flat out leaves a great impression. I find myself going back to it over and over. Domino records has a great list of employees and Four Tet is equal to its company. Rounds is my favorite addition addition to their discography, right after There is Love in You. Full Review »
  2. Jul 16, 2013
    Nearly perfectly crafted tracks that stun you with their beauty. The sound quality was great and everything mixed together so well, this album always puts me in a good mood and will remain one of my favorites for a long time. If you're looking for a Four Tet entry point look no further, Rounds is his master piece. Full Review »