• Record Label: Domino
  • Release Date: May 6, 2003

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. 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.
  2. Uncut
    It's the freshest, most exciting and far-reaching left-field album in years. [Jun 2003, p.102]
  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. Spin
    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. A beautiful, engaging, enchanting record.
  7. Rounds is a perfect mix of subdued chill-out music and up-tempo beats.
  8. Soul music full of remarkable sonic ideas.
  9. 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.
  10. An album that's both effortlessly confident of its sound and monumentally fearless of introducing cohesive surprises.
  11. 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.
  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. Magnet
    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]
  16. Sensitive ones will fall in love instantly; Fat Beats futurists might wait for the Jay Dee remix due later this year.
  17. Alternative Press
    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]
  18. Under The Radar
    One of the essential electronic platters of the year. [#5, p.106]
  19. Blender
    Hebden treats software as a rocky road to hummable compositions of seductively intricate invention. [#17, p.135]
  20. Urb
    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]
  21. The Wire
    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]
  22. 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.
  23. Q Magazine
    This is maverick electronica without the headaches. [Jul 2003, p.103]
  24. 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.
  25. Rolling Stone
    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 39 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 20
  2. Negative: 2 out of 20
  1. GerardJ
    Aug 1, 2007
    Beautiful. Do I need to say more?
  2. LawrenceP
    May 27, 2005
    Yes it is "as serious as your life". A must have in your collection.
  3. Apr 24, 2015
    The song "She Moves she" is just horrible, my ears were bleeding
    I don't like this genre & i would never have reviewed this in normal
    The song "She Moves she" is just horrible, my ears were bleeding
    I don't like this genre & i would never have reviewed this in normal conditions, but the track i mentioned is so bad
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