All Songs Considered Blog
Wed August 1, 2012
The Drop: Four Tet Remixes Hot Chip
Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 10:03 am
As a radio producer, I've been trained to never let a piece begin with the sound of a person's breath; it's sloppy. So when I first heard the remix of Hot Chip's "Look At Where We Are" by Four Tet, the tape-cutter in me dove for the delete button. Right before the music starts, you can clearly hear a sharp intake of air from singer Alexis Taylor.
But I've since listened to the song a few times, and I now think that breath sounds just right. It's the kind of gasp a diver might take before their plunge, or say, a remixer might take before tackling a group as accomplished as Hot Chip.
On its fifth studio album, In Our Heads, and especially on "Look At Where We Are," Hot Chip sounds more organic than ever before. The original is a downtempo love song that relies more heavily on a patient electric guitar than the punchy electronics the group is known for. Four Tet's version, on the other hand, carries a kick while preserving the moodiness of the original. Four Tet leaves the vocals mostly intact through the first three minutes of the song, atop drawn-out synth chords. Next, he builds drama by swapping these vocals and harmonic synths for a steady kick drum and percussive white noise. As a beefy bassline sneaks its way into the latter third of the track, Four Tet reintroduces a snippet of the song's chorus. By minute six, the remix has arrived at an entirely new sound: a busy symphony of electronics, born from a single human breath.