Before Four Tet’s (né Kieran Hebden) contribution to the Late Night Tales series (released earlier this year), he bridged his two previous releases with the outstanding instrumental Locked. As the ending track of the garage-inclined FabricLive 59 mix and as track #1 on his latest release Pink (2011), Locked is a deliciously loaded percussive stew.
It begins as a seemingly simple trip hop beat, and before we can blink it transitions into two-step garage, courtesy of countering cymbal triplets that are characteristic of the garage sound. The sly trilled synthesizer riffs are the spark, twinkling in the eyes of the song. Before the high pitched riffs can have too much fun, they are immediately put in their place by disciplining attacks from the lower frequency: a patriarchal two-note bass synth that follows.
The polyrhythms of Locked makes it accessible on several levels. It could shake bass heads on a come-down in a post-2am underground club, but could also fit on a loungy, laid back summer mixtape (Hebden even described the track himself as “summery”). The fact that it’s so multipurpose plays a huge part in its appeal.
Locked is one of Four Tet’s lengthiest, most enjoyable beat structures yet. And although the 8:32 playtime might seem like a serious time commitment, rest assured that its length is not a burden, but an investment of time that appreciates in value by the end.