Video | Four Tet Live at the Roundhouse London

Video | Four Tet

London Luminary Debuts a New Light Show for Boiler Room.

by Joshua P. Ferguson

We've always held the opinion that a DJ set from Four Tet trumps a live one, having witnessed both more than once. Then his latest collaboration with Boiler Room came along and called this whole line of thinking into question. Presented from London's Roundhouse earlier this month, the live performance from the man otherwise known as Keiran Hebden is a tighter, more conceptualized experience than what we recall from performances past.

Our prior experience with Four Tet live amounted to little more than a tangle of loose wires on a table with his tangles of loose curls bobbing behind it. The music's great, but there's not much to look at. Today, those things remain, but they're accompanied by a towering three-dimensional block composed entirely of vertically hanging strings of lights. As the camera angles from the Boiler Room footage progress through the performance, the block of lights comes alive, flickering, cascading and rippling with light patterns that translate Hebden's syncopated rhythms for the eye.

Admittedly, performing dance music as a live act has progressed by light years since that last time we saw Hebden tackle original material in a venue. Acts are commanding big bucks to step outside the DJ booth and onto the stage proper and have realized the need to step up the performative aspects to supplement a music that is largely brought to life through programming and button pushing. Four Tet isn't an innovator in that regard, but thanks to the help of his set designers, his new live set piece is. 

The design collective responsible is Squidsoup, a collective of artists who focus on digital media experiences. Alongside Four Tet, the group has also taken on stage and set design for Kylie Minogue and Purity Ring in addition to the visual installations and software tools they've created outside the musical sphere. And the work is truly experiential. 

The living light show adds a new dimension to Four Tet's sound—and one that marries with it seamlessly. The two share an intricate and aesthetic origin point that's borne out in two different mediums and brought back together here to elevate one another. Boiler Room's video takes that one step further, allowing the viewer to move beyond the audience and take in the textures created from stepping in, out and to either side of the Four Tet, the light block and the dance floor. 

All this together with a finely tuned tracklisting from Hebden that touches on some of his best moments new and old (partial tracklisting below) and you've got Four Tet the way he Hebden's probably always felt he was meant to be seen. Good thing Boiler Room captured the whole thing for those of us who couldn't be here in the flesh.


Evening Side 
Parallel Jalebi
Ba Teaches Yoga
Four Tet - Morning Side

Four Tet's full set is available for download from


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