Review: Thom Yorke, Burial & Four Tet Join Forces In The Downtempo Minimalism Of ‘Her Revolution/His Rope’
Thom Yorke, Burial & Four Tet | Her Revolution/His Rope | XL Records
Release Date: 2 December, 2020
In a surprise collaborative return from three of the most beloved and iconic artists in the music industry; Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, William Bevan – otherwise known as the ever enigmatic pioneer Burial and electronic maestro Kieran Hebden, the always experimental and deeply admired artist crafting his sound under his moniker Four Tet; comes their newest two track release ‘Her Revolution/His Rope‘.
While this is not the first time the trio have collaborated; teaming up on their latest vinyl-only “12 release ‘Her Revolution/His Rope’ is most definitely an unexpected move that fans couldn’t have predicted. It’s been a stunning 9 years since the trio have come together, following their 2011 release ‘Ego/Mirror’ – ‘Her Revolution/His Rope’ is similar in aesthetic – the dark, brooding cover and record says it all – released via XL Records.
Unfortunately for fans, the chances of getting our hands on their brand new release is likely non-existent, as ‘Her Revolution/His Rope’ has solely been released as a limited run of just 300 vinyl pressings – that were only able to be purchased via UK record outlets Phonica Records, Honest Jon’s and Sounds Of The Universe.
It seems as though, disappointingly all copies are completely sold out – and fans are not happy without an accompanying digital release, as even if they were in stock – purchasing the limited edition vinyl right now during this time is literally impossible for most of us, so who knows when or even if we will be able to get our hands on the record. However, with this release we can’t say we know what to expect from this trio so who knows what may happen in the future.
With that being said, at least we are able to enjoy the two tracks by the artists regardless, with fans begging the trio to come together in a more permanent manner as the unique sound they have crafted definitely warrants more releases.
The soft, delicate and gentle feel of both ‘Her Revolution and ‘His Rope’ create a quiet, downtempo feel; while both tracks retain the slow, spectral melancholia that we experienced in ‘Ego/Mirror‘ – the overall feel showcases a tone that is a lot more hazy and dreamlike, a downtempo, muffled soundscape that, while rich with ambience and wistful musings: the shimmering textures expected from a collaboration between the trio feel few and far between.
‘Her Revolution’ cradles a tender sadness, the curious electronic timbres glittering over the slightly muffled yet steady raindrop beats – appearing as phantoms in a realm that feels somewhat like a reverb-drenched purgatory – the track is reflective and kind in nature, with a honeyed crescendo in the midst of the tranquility a lovely contrast to the lo-fi feel of the rest of the track.
‘His Rope’ doesn’t feel as though it blossoms as wonderfully as ‘Her Revolution’ – the minimalist static cloaking the beat and serene tone of the percussion, accompanied by bubbling electronics sculpts a beautifully ambient atmospheric soundscape; Yorke’s ethereal vocals drive the track forward in his signature, otherworldly introspection – however, Yorke’s vocals tend to overpower the rest of the track, with the textural electronics acting more so as skeleton for ‘His Rope’ as opposed to a collaboration with Burial and Four Tet.
While the personalities of the artists do shine through in each track, specifically in ‘Her Revolution’ – the collaborative effort doesn’t stand out as strongly as one would expect. For the most part, it feels as though Yorke’s outstanding vocals are the most captivating and sublime aspects of each track, which overshadow the expectations and ultimately the potential possibilities that could have been crafted by both the incredible Burial and textural virtuoso Four Tet.
While the tracks are graceful in their style and coherent in tempo and tone for the trio; an enjoyable listen for calm and reflection, lavish in their take on downtempo, atmospheric ambience – it feels quite clear that the main highlight of the two tracks is Yorke’s vocals, deconstructing the collaborative effort with an incredible trio of artists.
Rating: 6 / 10
Feature Image: Thom Yorke by Eliot Lee Hazel (2013)