Spoiler: There’s a lot of Mo’ Wax
August 8, 2015 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Writing for FACT, Laurent Fintoni and John Twells have compiled a list of the fifty best trip-hop albums. (Before you freak out, realize that particularly big artists all only get one entry, and the list is confined to the 1990s.) The list is reproduced inside, with links to entry pages, artist info, and (when available) Youtube streams.

  1. London Funk Allstars, London Funk Volume 1 (Ninja Tune, 1995) (stream)
  2. Bomb The Bass, Clear (4th & Broadway, 1994) (stream)
  3. Slicker, Confidence in Duber (Hefty, 1998)
  4. Meat Beat Manifesto, Subliminal Sandwich (Interscope, 1996) (stream)
  5. 9 Lazy 9, Paradise Blown (Ninja Tune, 1994) (stream)
  6. UNKLE, Psyence Fiction (Mo’ Wax, 1998) (stream)
  7. Tipsy, Trip Tease – The Seductive Sounds of Tipsy (Asphodel, 1996) (stream)
  8. Justin Warfield, My Field Trip To Planet 9 (Qwest, 1993) (stream)
  9. Smith & Mighty, Bass Is Maternal (More Rockers/!K7, 1995)
  10. DJ Vadim, U.S.S.R Repertoire (The Theory of Verticality) (Ninja Tune, 1996) (stream)
  11. Funki Porcini, Hed Phone Sex (Ninja Tune, 1995) (stream)
  12. Red Snapper, Prince Blimey (Warp, 1996) (stream)
  13. Kruder & Dorfmeister DJ KiCKS (!K7, 1996)
  14. Wagon Christ, Throbbing Pouch (Rising High Records, 1994) (stream)
  15. Tim ‘Love’ Lee, Confessions of a Selector (Tummy Touch, 1997)
  16. The Psychonauts, Time Machine (Mo’ Wax, 1998) (stream)
  17. Prince Paul, Psychoanalysis (What Is It?) (Wordsound, 1996) (stream)
  18. The Herbaliser, Blow Your Headphones (Ninja Tune, 1997) (stream)
  19. The Bug, Tapping the Conversation (Wordsound, 1997) (stream)
  20. Neotropic, Mr. Brubaker’s Strawberry Alarm Clock (Ntone, 1998)
  21. Various Artists, Headz (A Soundtrack Of Experimental Beathead Jams.) (Mo’ Wax, 1994) (stream)
  22. Various Artists, Eleven Phases (Sublime, 1998)
  23. Solex, Solex vs. The Hitmeister (Matador, 1998) (stream)
  24. Various Artists, Funkjazztical Tricknology (Ninja Tune, 1995) (stream)
  25. DJ Food, Recipe For Disaster (New Breed, 1995)
  26. DJ Krush & Toshinori Kondo, Ki-Oku (Apollo, 1996) (stream)
  27. We™, As Is. (Asphodel, 1997)
  28. Amon Tobin, Bricolage (Ninja Tune, 1997) (stream)
  29. Third Eye Foundation, Semtex (Linda’s Strange Vacation, 1996) (stream)
  30. Attica Blues, Attica Blues (Mo’ Wax, 1997)
  31. Coldcut & DJ Food vs. DJ Krush, Cold Krush Cuts (Ninja Tune, 1996) (stream disc 1) (stream disc 2)
  32. Depth Charge, 9 Deadly Venoms (Vinyl Solution, 1994) (stream)
  33. Nearly God, Nearly God (Island, 1996) (stream)
  34. Skylab, Skylab #2: 1999 “Large As Life And Twice As Natural” (Eye Q , 1999)
  35. Laika, Silver Apples of the Moon (Too Pure, 1994) (stream)
  36. Nightmares on Wax, Smokers Delight (Warp, 1995) (stream)
  37. REQ, One (Skint, 1997)
  38. Crooklyn Dub Consortium, Certified Dope Vol.1 (Wordsound, 1995)
  39. DJ Krush, Meiso (Mo’ Wax / Sony, 1995) (stream)
  40. David Holmes, Let’s Get Killed (Go! Beat, 1997) (stream)
  41. DJ Spooky, Songs of a Dead Dreamer (Asphodel, 1996) (stream)
  42. DJ Cam, Abstract Manifesto (P-Vine, 1996) (stream)
  43. Major Force West, 93-97 (Mo’ Wax, 1999) (stream)
  44. Various Artists, Headz 2 (Mo’ Wax, 1996)
  45. Leila Arab, Like Weather (Rephlex, 1998)
  46. Luke Vibert, Big Soup (Mo’ Wax, 1997) (stream)
  47. Massive Attack, Blue Lines (Island, 1991) (stream)
  48. DJ Shadow, Endtroducing (Mo’ Wax, 1996) (stream)
  49. Portishead, Dummy (Go! Beat, 1994) (stream)
  50. Tricky, Maxinquaye (Island, 1995) (stream)
Also, this list is in reverse order. That is, Maxinquaye is #1

A few more lists:
posted by Going To Maine (93 comments total) 145 users marked this as a favorite
 
This list is primarily in reverse order because it seems like MetaFilter doesn't support ol reverse tags.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:40 PM on August 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Hopped into the middle of the Luke Vibert album and hit the Amen Break head on.
posted by kaibutsu at 12:51 PM on August 8, 2015


I'd bump Tricky to #4 and move Massive Attack ahead of DJ Shadow, but otherwise I can get behind the top few. UNKLE may have been slightly cynical, but Rabbit in Your Headlights is a fantastic track, and it deserves its place on the strength of that one track alone.

This list is primarily in reverse order because it seems like MetaFilter doesn't support ol reverse tags.

Tiny pony is tiny.
posted by axiom at 12:52 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'd give it to 'Protection' over 'Blue Lines,' but that's a real solid list.
posted by box at 12:53 PM on August 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


And that's tomorrow's listening entertainment sorted. Thanks G2M!
posted by endotoxin at 12:54 PM on August 8, 2015


I thought it was some kind of ballsy Bristol-last move at first, which would have brought a severe case of the Actuallys.
posted by Artw at 12:54 PM on August 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


'Car Boot Soul' and some other Amon Tobin, too--these guys like debuts tho.
posted by box at 12:54 PM on August 8, 2015


I probably would have gone for Permutation for my Amon Tobun pick, but I did kind of lose interest in his later stuff so maybe some is good.
posted by Artw at 12:57 PM on August 8, 2015


So I was 20 in 1995, which makes so much music from that year being burned into my brain make a lot of sense.
posted by Artw at 1:01 PM on August 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh wow, Blow Your Headphones...now it's 1998, I'm sharing an apartment in Toronto with three of my best friends, I have disposable income for the first time in my life and the air is filled with smoke.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:04 PM on August 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think I'd say 'Supermodified,' but that Splinter Cell score would be a nice left-field pick.
posted by box at 1:05 PM on August 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, this list is in reverse order. That is, Maxinquaye is #1

Ah. Well. In that case, carry on. Whew.
posted by The World Famous at 1:05 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Are we admitting that the entire rest of Tricky's output was kind of not that great?
posted by Artw at 1:11 PM on August 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


This is what I come to MeFi for. <3
posted by ulteriormodem at 1:17 PM on August 8, 2015


You're both almost 40. This is a first date.

'Triphop. I get a real sense of trip hop from you,' she says.

'I don't even know who DJ Shadow is!' you exclaim.

'gotcha motherfucker,' she says.

'check please.'
posted by mrdaneri at 1:18 PM on August 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


oh my god just reading these names is giving intense flashbacks. I now feel angsty and hormonal and not yet legal to buy alcohol.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:21 PM on August 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


The year One Nine Nine Nine was on the future once...
posted by Artw at 1:22 PM on August 8, 2015


I would have picked Mezzanine myself, but I agree its a solid list. I only know about 50% of it so I'm looking forward to checking out the rest!
posted by supermedusa at 1:27 PM on August 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Please talk Amon Tobin albums all night.
posted by nom de poop at 1:35 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Thank you for this post you are the most bestest person and i will love you forever
posted by Dee Grim at 1:37 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


By request, Amon Tobin albums ranked:

Supermodified
Permutation
Bricolage
Chaos Theory
Adventures in Foam
Piranha Breaks
ISAM
Foley Room
posted by box at 1:45 PM on August 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


There's a second Skylab album?!
posted by persona au gratin at 1:48 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow. There's a ton on Spotify. Cool!
posted by persona au gratin at 1:50 PM on August 8, 2015


This list is proper.
posted by dazed_one at 1:51 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Second Portishead album should be here somewhere.
posted by persona au gratin at 1:52 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Does Howie B count as trip hop?
posted by persona au gratin at 1:55 PM on August 8, 2015


can't see otherwise
posted by mrdaneri at 1:59 PM on August 8, 2015


Are we admitting that the entire rest of Tricky's output was kind of not that great?

Hell no.
posted by the bricabrac man at 2:03 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


No exception for Yonderboi's remarkable, fin de siècle masterpiece Shallow and Profound, I guess.
posted by eschatfische at 2:03 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's strange - I clicked 'more inside' and suddenly it's 4am and I'm on the floor wrapped in a blanket and no there's no daylight creeping in around the blinds and I've only got 20 minutes to finish rolling this joint and Fuck why are my fingers so sweaty.....
posted by mannequito at 2:20 PM on August 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


also Out From Out Where is the best Amon album. Though I did recently find my copy of Supermodified and it lived in my car's CD player for 2 weeks.
posted by mannequito at 2:23 PM on August 8, 2015


Unkle? Amon Tobin? Prince Paul? Sorry, that's really stretching the reach of 'triphop' there.
posted by sektah at 2:29 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bricolage is my favorite Amon Tobin, though I don't really think of it as trip hop. But whatevs.

Are we admitting that the entire rest of Tricky's output was kind of not that great?

I like Pre-Millennial Tension plenty good.
posted by aubilenon at 2:35 PM on August 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


18 by my watch, mannequito. so sweaty. so very sweaty.
posted by mrdaneri at 2:35 PM on August 8, 2015


Ki-Oku is so fucking good. I'd have picked that other K&D mix, and Mezzanine over Blue Lines but this list is pretty solid, though that backwards order thing almost gave me a heart attack.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:37 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I didn't mean to come across so dismissively - it's a good list and a lovely revisit of some old favourites.
posted by sektah at 2:38 PM on August 8, 2015


The stuff that falls outside of my definition of Trip Hop pretty much falls within the category "stiff I listened to when trip hop was big", so I'm cool with it. You just chill out there on the list, David Holnes.

(Trip Hop isn't even my dorkiest 90s musical subgenre, that would be "Ambieht Dub". )
posted by Artw at 2:47 PM on August 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


I would include Green Blue Fire by Husikesque (Lida Husik)
posted by RalphSlate at 2:49 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Smith & Mighty essential mix feelin the 90s love
posted by yoHighness at 2:52 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I would include Green Blue Fire by Husikesque (Lida Husik)

Beaumont Hannant shout out! I wonder if they did anything after 1996...
posted by Artw at 3:06 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I own and enjoy that first Solex album, but it's news to me that anyone considered that album "trip-hop." It is, however, a fun listen.
posted by chrominance at 3:09 PM on August 8, 2015


I would've given the middle finger to this list if Maxinquaye hadn't been #1 or at least in the top three. Pre-Millennial Tension should also be on there (I don't care if it means Tricky appears more than once). Dummy at #2 is also totally called for. If you're including Blue Lines and not Mezzanine (#1 on the reddit list) and Protection, there's something wrong (although to say, as the reddit list does, that Mezzanine and not Maxinquaye is what "brought the genre to prominence" is absurd).
posted by blucevalo at 3:09 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


In the summer of 1999 I stayed in Chapel Hill to renovate the student television station and take a class. These albums were my soundtrack. Best time of my life.
posted by infinitewindow at 3:15 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Added for archival purposes
posted by mrdaneri at 3:16 PM on August 8, 2015


By request, Amon Tobin albums ranked:

Oooh, I see fightin' words (*). I actually really love ISAM, though Supermodified and Permutation are both quite good.

Also he has a new album out called Dark Jovian. It's okay but probably needs to go at the bottom of the list.


(*) not really, I'd really rather just listen to music.
posted by Foosnark at 3:16 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I can't keep track of all the different names for minute differences in electronic music. Is DJ Fresh trip-hop? Would he have been on this list if he'd released anything in the 90s?

If so I have a lot of listening to do.
posted by rifflesby at 3:21 PM on August 8, 2015


I mean, I probably do anyway.
posted by rifflesby at 3:21 PM on August 8, 2015


Kruder & Dorfmeister - The K&D Sessions
Unitone HiFi ‎– Rewound + Rerubbed
posted by iotic at 3:46 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


(although to say, as the reddit list does, that Mezzanine and not Maxinquaye is what "brought the genre to prominence" is absurd)

Pff. Kids. Or possibly some dumb American thing.
posted by Artw at 3:53 PM on August 8, 2015


Thanks for taking the time to make the list of links.
posted by conrad53 at 4:03 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Came inside to see Headz and Headz 2, was not disappointed. It's difficult to overstate the impact those two amazing Mo' Wax comps had on my fellow geriatric raver pals. Smart, trippy, funky, experimental...godamn, listening to those double lp comps put us in heaven.
posted by mediareport at 4:48 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


My dorkiest '90s subgenre: probably horrorcore. Sorry, illbient, riot-grrrl, Bill Laswell.
posted by box at 5:04 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


6 Feet Deep by Gravediggaz is an all time classic album!
posted by Artw at 5:10 PM on August 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


excuse me where is thievery corp
posted by poffin boffin at 5:11 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Unkle? Amon Tobin? Prince Paul? Sorry, that’s really stretching the reach of ‘triphop’ there.

I’m going to straight-up steal from the list’s authors here:
We can already hear the furious typing of wronged hip-hop heads asking with disgust why Prince Paul is even on this list. Psychoanalysis is here for a bunch of reasons: it was originally released by Wordsound, a label most associated (wrongly or not) with illbient, NYC’s answer to trip-hop; it’s a rare example of a fully instrumental hip-hop album from a city that, in the 1990s, had no time for anything that didn’t have rappers on it (Skiz Fernando Jr., who ran the label, recounted stories of Fat Beats refusing to stock the album at the time); and it’s basically 15 tracks of Prince Paul taking his whole skit philosophy to its most absurd conclusion.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:11 PM on August 8, 2015


Portishead and Massive Attack guested once apiece on the BBC's Essential Mix show in 94 and 95 and produced amazing 2-hour sets that dove deep into the roots of their respective sounds, from old-school hip-hop to Ennio Morricone.

They aren't albums so they don't qualify for the list, but man are they worth tracking down.
posted by ardgedee at 5:16 PM on August 8, 2015 [12 favorites]


Geoff Barrow is doing soundtrack work now, most recently on Ex Machina - he put together an alternate soundtrack album for Dredd as well, available as "Drokk!".
posted by Artw at 5:21 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


No gusgus? Polydistortion was great. e.g. Polyesterday and Believe live.

More recently, I enjoyed Over. Here it is live @ KEXP.

And the definitive Ninja Tune (Hextstatic, "Ninja Tune [Process Mix]) compilation is probably Xen Cuts, no?
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:22 PM on August 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Cold Krush Cuts is pretty damn great. The various Solid Steel mixes are worth checking out too.
posted by Artw at 5:29 PM on August 8, 2015


Smith & Mighty, "Rainbows (More Rockers Version)"


Apparently we all want to forget about Sneaker Pimps & Hooverphonic?

Morcheeba too? Rough.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:29 PM on August 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Geoff Barrow is doing soundtrack work now, most recently on Ex Machina - he put together an alternate soundtrack album for Dredd as well, available as "Drokk!".

He's also recording albums as BEAK>.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:30 PM on August 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Technically, if they are limiting it to one artist, including both Psyence Fiction and Endtroducing... on the list is cheating themselves. Both are by DJ Shadow, and it's well known that James Lavelle only (literally) breathes on Psyence Fiction.

Also, it's well known that Nearly God is a stealth Tricky solo album. One track does feature Bjork, making it almost a remix of her song, during that period before she totally blew up and would work with anyone. Also more of a cheat because Tricky was in Massive Attack during the recording of Blue Lines. (He split, as the legend goes over his version of a song verses theirs.) It's also worth nothing the live version of Suffocated Love (which was on one of the singles off Maxinquaye.) I think the song that defines Trip Hop is Tricky's Christiansands, which is on his third (if you count Nearly God) album.
posted by Catblack at 5:45 PM on August 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Yeah - it's basically one album per artist pseudonym.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:47 PM on August 8, 2015


And in the 'what no...' category, you have to add Kid Loco's A Grand Love Story which was considered Trip Hop upon it's release. (Though I think it originally wasn't available in the states due to not having samples cleared.) It's just about on the level of Smoker's Delight by Nightmares On Wax, in my opinion.
posted by Catblack at 5:55 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Lamb: Cotton Wool, Trans Fatty Acid, Gorecki

Sort of trip-hop-ish is Aim: Sail, Aint Got Time to Waste
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:01 PM on August 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


>Hopped into the middle of the Luke Vibert album and hit the Amen Break yt head on.

He recorded a series of albums using the Amen break under the moniker Amen Andrews and every song revolves around deconstructing that break.

I caught him at one of the first Coachella festivals in a tent. The audience was about 3 feet away, and I remember him smoking a giant blunt and twiddling knobs, before he brought BJ Cole out.
posted by Catblack at 6:12 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Still going through the list, another note: The Psychonauts did a very legendary Essential Mix in 1996 before their album came out.
posted by Catblack at 6:26 PM on August 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


> And the definitive Ninja Tune (Hextstatic, "Ninja Tune [Process Mix]) compilation is probably Xen Cuts, no?

Track nine, disk three! Just got the whole set two weeks ago, purely on a coincidental whim, and I've been listening the hell out of it. There's almost too much really brilliant stuff but also a couple clinkers on each disk that ruin the vibe . As befits a compilation of B-sides and obscurities, I guess.
posted by ardgedee at 6:27 PM on August 8, 2015


UNKLE's Rabbit in Your Headlight is still one of my favorite music videos.

Plus, Thom Yorke.
posted by Windigo at 6:46 PM on August 8, 2015


This post is so timely! Just last week I said to myself +what happened to trip hop? Who is still making it? Why did I stop listening? "
posted by rebent at 7:10 PM on August 8, 2015


It kinda got reabsorbed into downtempo (and instrumental hip-hop and alt-r&b and some other stuff)--trip-hop, like electronica or holy minimalism, is one of those labels that was imposed from without.
posted by box at 7:32 PM on August 8, 2015


Nice to see Laika on there but I think Sounds of the Satellites is more consistently excellent than Silver Apples of the Moon.

And Leila, Like Weather at number six! That's an album that I love that I thought no one had ever heard of!

Won't You Be My Baby, Baby
posted by murphy slaw at 7:57 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Man, now I have to dig that our of a box.
posted by Artw at 8:20 PM on August 8, 2015


Best show of my life was probably at Fakeshop, with some version of We playing inside a giant inflatable maze. (With soup!) I would not have included them on this list, but I am glad to see them here.

In fact, the best part of this fpp is stuff that does not belong, or was not included. Lamb? Hell yes! And I have been playing Solex All Licketysplit for my toddler all summer long.
posted by BrunoLatourFanclub at 10:09 PM on August 8, 2015


something happened somewhere between 1997-1999. I went from listening to pretty much everything on this list to none of it. and it happened fast. suddenly, I just couldn't listen to sample based spaced out groove music anymore. I had to find the real thing, which is to say real humans playing real instruments, playing spaced out groove music.

Miles Davis had a lot to do with it.

but thanks for the memories. cool post.
posted by philip-random at 10:27 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Massive Attack - Live From "The White Room" - 2nd March 1996 - doing quite well on the real instrument front.
posted by Artw at 12:20 AM on August 9, 2015






What, so people are too good for the Sneaker Pimps now?

Good list though.

Edit: Thanks snuffleupagus.
posted by Alex404 at 2:41 AM on August 9, 2015


Hooverphonic all day.
posted by eamondaly at 2:55 AM on August 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Not really sure why Morcheeba didn't crack the top 50, but Tricky has a solid catalog, not just Maxinquaye.
posted by JLovebomb at 12:24 PM on August 9, 2015


Now I'm wishing someone reputable would do a similar list for electroclash.
posted by JLovebomb at 12:25 PM on August 9, 2015


Not quite it, but last year Joe Muggs at FACT did this little listicle: “Save the Planet, Kill Yourself: remembering Electroclash”
posted by Going To Maine at 12:37 PM on August 9, 2015


  1. the
  2. list
  3. has
  4. been
  5. ordered
  6. correctly.
  7. thanks,
  8. pb
  9. though
  10. we
  11. can’t
  12. reverse
  13. them
  14. ourselves
  15. yet.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:50 PM on August 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Before he was Amon Tobin, he was Cujo, and I would put Adventures in Foam second on his ranked list.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:43 PM on August 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


When talking about Amon Tobin, I love to bring up the Pitchfork review of Supermodified, which is insane in all the best ways that Pitchfork’s reviews used to be insane. (They also gave Bricolage a 10 back in the day, but that rather-straight-laced "we started driving and put on this amazing CD and listened to it all night" review -and I think their review of Permutation as well, unless they never covered it, which I sort of doubt- have been purged from the archives.)
posted by Going To Maine at 7:52 PM on August 9, 2015


Hahaha yeah Pitchfork did a lot of quiet "we have always been at war with Eastasia, Basement Jaxx has always been okay for hipsters to like and we DEFINITELY gave Remedy more than like a 3" between its various redesigns.
posted by en forme de poire at 9:38 PM on August 9, 2015


It's really unfortunate because many of the dead reviews were just fine - if the Permutation review exists, I have no doubt that it got less than an 8. I think a lot of it was killing things from before 1999, lord knows why. Partly purges of some early Brent DiCrescenzo stuff after the kerfuffle with the Beastie Boys, I assume.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:00 PM on August 9, 2015




Yay I think I had like 75% of that list on vinyl at some point.
posted by Theta States at 11:39 AM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love all of you.
posted by ead at 3:27 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


*shakily holds up 6 paper coner*

Finished - Who's In?
posted by mannequito at 8:17 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


As a mini-celebration of 25 years of Ninja Tune & its win of an AIM Award, The Guardian got label head Jon More to submit a brief list of important Ninja Tune releases.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:31 PM on August 11, 2015


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