One of the burning spears of the organic electronica movement, to which Tape, Fennesz, Alog, Efterklang, Fog, and many others belong, Kieran Hebden is a veteran of Fridge as well as being an established solo artist as Four Tet. Pause was Four Tet's second album (out in 2001), following 1999's Dialogue, his excellent debut. The sound changed a lot between those records, solidifying in some areas while reaching out more in others. Dialogue was, in my opinion, a simpler record, though by no means simple and certainly enjoyable. Pause has Hebden exploring more varied sounds, trying a bit more ambient noise at parts, but also tightening up his beats and samples quite a bit.
The first track is a good indicator of things to come - drums are carefully organized, guitar and miscellaneous samples well recorded and accentuating the beat. One thing that bothers me in some organic electronic music is when the instruments aren't played, or organized as precisely as the drums. That's not the case here, Four Tet is the standard of applying guitar samples to beats, as well as other instruments, mostly plucked or strummed and manipulated in some way. "Twenty-Three" is an excellent track, combining Hebdan's ear for mystical, twinkling ambience as well as solid drums and sample control. "Leila Came Around and We Watched a Video" is one of my favorite Four Tet tracks of all, and is simply beautiful - just calm, sparkling beauty embodied in a 99-second song. "Untangle" is a mischevious track, with a multilayered, metronomic beat elaborated almost solely by a playful harp or lute. "Tangle" is a strangely pretty track - reversed and sped up samples are replaced by perhaps their original selves, lightning fast plucking on the guitar, backed by watery noises and eventually layering itself to death. "You Could Ruin My Day" is kind of a cruiser, going on for a pleasant seven minutes but not doing anything really unexpected. "Hilarious Movie of the 90's," the closer, is a great little track, utilizing a few more chimes than usual but it's a nice fadeout.
The track I saw the most of when this album came out was "No More Mosquitoes"... which I think is a terrible track, frankly, lacking almost any worth. I skip it on the CD every time and I've deleted the file on my computer so it won't turn up on shuffle. It sounds nothing like the rest of the album to me and its inclusion is baffling. So don't worry about that one. I'm giving you the last track, which is a bit more subdued than most of the album but a great track. Be aware there's more active music on the rest of the CD, so give it a shot.