Four Tet’s edit of Nelly Furtado’s “Afraid” has been floating around for a while now: Clubbers and festivalgoers reported hearing it in sets across Europe last summer, played not only by Four Tet but also other DJs, like Peggy Gou, Jackmaster, Hunee, and Bicep. Now, apparently having cleared the sample, Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden has given it an official release. Curiously, it appears under a new alias, the initials KH, which Hebden previously used on another fan-favorite edit, 2013’s “The Track I’ve Been Playing That People Keep Asking About and That Joy Used in His RA Mix and Daphni Played on Boiler Room.” (“KH” is certainly easier to type into Spotify than another recent alias of his, ⣎⡇ꉺლ༽இ•̛)ྀ◞ ༎ຶ ༽ৣৢ؞ৢ؞ؖ ꉺლ)
The original comes from Furtado’s 2006 album Loose, and anyone who knows the song will recognize it in Hebden’s edit immediately, never mind the fact that her synth-soaked, alt-rock/R&B hybrid couldn’t be further from Four Tet’s clean-lined corkscrew of a floor destroyer. His beat is a spring-loaded groove injected with a heavy dose of UK garage’s swing; as for the hook, he quickly zeroes in on Furtado’s chorus with eagle-eyed tenacity and refuses to let up. Multi-tracked and cushioned in echo, the vocals have the sing-song feel of a playground chant, but few children’s songs are quite as empathic as this one. “You’re so afraid of what people might say/But that’s okay ’cause you’re only human,” begins the breathless refrain, spinning through a dizzy series of repetitions, before landing on the kicker: “You’re going to break/So please don’t do it.” Self-care has rarely sounded this exhilarating.