I always feel a bit guilty waiting impatiently for new Four Tet material, especially since he’s so prolific. Since his 2015 two-track release “Morning / Evening,” Four Tet (real name Kieran Hebden) has remixed songs by The xx, Rihanna, Jamie xx and Oneohtrix Point Never, released a compilation album titled “Randoms” and worked tirelessly on material for his new album. 

He didn’t even supply cryptic tweets several months before his releases. After simply tweeting “The new album is done” Aug. 25, he proceeded to release four great singles: “Planet,” “Two Thousand and Seventeen,” “Scientists” and “SW9 9SL.” Luckily, Four Tet’s output is matched by his impressively consistent quality. His new album is a delightful listen full of ambient tones, organic instrumentation and a perfected, down-tempo style. Here’s a track-by-track review of Four Tet’s “New Energy.”

The album opens with “Alap,” a relaxing start that sets the mood with bell tones, harps and an atmospheric build that never really goes anywhere — nor does it need to. It’s a comforting and agreeable listen that indicates that this album might not be as dance-oriented as his previous releases “There is Love in You” and “Beautiful Rewind.”

“Two Thousand and Seventeen” is undeniably catchy and one of the four singles on the album. On the track, Four Tet’s harmonies create a lush environment accentuated by the vaguely Middle-Eastern sounding mandolin that run through this track. One can trace these progressions to Four Tet’s fascination with cultural sonic landscapes. Earlier this year, in response to the Trump administration’s controversial travel ban, he released a Spotify playlist made up completely of artists who hailed from banned countries in the Middle East. And on “Morning / Evening,” he sampled the legendary Indian playback singer Lata Mangeshkar while exploring his desire to “make the world his club.”

The title of “LA Trance” is a perfect description of the track. Featuring piercing synths and a subtly pulsing beat, “LA Trance” manages to mix the better parts of Four Tet’s new ambient focus with the lively drums and club-focused sound he became famous for. 

“Tremper” is the second of five transition tracks on this album. It begins with the sound of footsteps on gravel and ends with the ethereal sound of synth chords. 

“Lush,” my favorite song on the album, is an ambient masterpiece propelled by the handpan, an instrument that produces brighter resonant sounds than the more popular steel drum. The downtempo feel and the brightness of the song are infectious, and the instrumentation is beautiful. 

“Scientists” strikes a darker tone, reminding me heavily of Swedish electronic duo The Knife. Once the vocal samples kick in, the song transitions into a dancier vibe, maintaining focus amidst a saxophone that slowly croons before a chaotic closing riff. It’s one of the sharpest tracks on the record.

“Falls 2” is another ambient interlude, backed by more vocal samples and synth progressions. 

“You Are Loved” grows slowly, with synth bursts throughout the track leading to the build-up. The culminating swell is momentarily blissful, before it peacefully fades at the end. While the song is a pleasant listen, it’s not as striking or interesting as other tracks on the record.

The lively percussive beats through “SW9 9SL” drive the track. Halfway through, synths come to the foreground before being joined by jangling instrumentation and liberal use of the hi-hat. 

“10 Midi” is a very neutral interlude, for the most part keeping within the same dynamic range and only mildly varying the violin pitches.

“Memories,” indicative of its name, is a beautifully wistful listen. Keyboard sounds hang and shimmer in the air, eventually being replaced with momentary percussion and slowly fading away before a closing revival that ends just as quickly as it begins. 

“Daughter” features a bizarre vocal sample and repeats it throughout. I personally found the song too long and the sample too grating after a while, but it is an interesting effort. Four Tet’s risks pay off far more often than not.

“Gentle Soul” is a pause before the weight of the last track “Planets,” and it serves as a great example of how Four Tet works so masterfully with space. The song consists only of synth chords separated by 10-second gaps, but the chords and spacing work together to simultaneously advance the album and let the song breathe.

The album ends with the seven minute track “Planet,” released as a single earlier this month. Even after hearing the track before the release of “New Energy,” “Planet” is a thrilling listen, pushed forward by a quick vocal sample and backing electronic pulses that sound almost alien. The song closes with over a minute of low synth bass leading into silence. 

While “New Energy” certainly feels like a Four Tet album, there’s enough excitement here to validate the album title. He never gets distracted, and his music, even when ambient, is ambitious. Kieran’s focus has always been broader than making a simple record. In 2015 he told The Guardian, “I want to be able to look back when I’m an old man and have these records tell a story.” On “New Energy,” Four Tet continues to tell his story, delivering an excellent record once more.