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. 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.
  2. If you've liked any of his previous work, you won't go wrong here.
  3. 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]
  4. 80
    Hebden treats software as a rocky road to hummable compositions of seductively intricate invention. [#17, p.135]
  5. Rounds is a perfect mix of subdued chill-out music and up-tempo beats.
  6. 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.
  7. An album that's both effortlessly confident of its sound and monumentally fearless of introducing cohesive surprises.
  8. 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]
  9. Soul music full of remarkable sonic ideas.
  10. 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.
  11. A beautiful, engaging, enchanting record.
  12. 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.
  13. This is maverick electronica without the headaches. [Jul 2003, p.103]
  14. Rounds is almost accidentally poignant--it's like hearing shattered transmissions of sentimental old music. [15 May 2003, p.134]
  15. 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.
  16. 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]
  17. 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.
  18. You may not get to sing along, but this is not ambient music; it is immersive and involving.
  19. 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.
  20. 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]
  21. 100
    It's the freshest, most exciting and far-reaching left-field album in years. [Jun 2003, p.102]
  22. One of the essential electronic platters of the year. [#5, p.106]
  23. 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]
  24. Sensitive ones will fall in love instantly; Fat Beats futurists might wait for the Jay Dee remix due later this year.
  25. Charming, civilized, childish, Kieran Hebden imagines an aural space in which electronic malfunction is cute rather than annoying or ominous.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 38 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 19
  2. Negative: 1 out of 19
  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. 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 »