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"Pause" is the 2nd album released by Four Tet (AKA Kieran Hebden) in 2001. I bought the album a while back, skimmed through it once or twice and then never played it again. I have dusted off the cd and am listening to it now to see if anything has changed. The musical style is sample based with an emphasis on acoustic samples to provide the melody combined with more obscure samples and sound fx. There are usually no vocals at all on each track, so the beat and melody need to be really strong in order to maintain interest.
The inherent problem with sample based music is that looping the same sounds over and over again gets repetitive and quickly bores the listener. Variety is the name of the game, especially without any vocals, so the beat needs to be more complex than usual and/or the samples used need to be especially catchy and melodic. "Pause" suffers from this problem and really struggles to overcome it - despite Four Tet's best efforts (and effort HAS gone into arranging and processing all the samples) there isn't a single track that I would listen to on a regular basis. I find my mind wandering 2 minutes into each track because the melodies never develop or are simply not strong enough.
The highlight of the album for me is "Twenty Three". It opens with a digital sounding sample of ocean waves before randomly switching to what sounds like wind chimes. An acoustic guitar melody starts up along with slightly annoying vocal snippets interjected at rhythmic intervals. An uptempo drumbeat kicks in and has enough variation to keep me listening. We then have a brass sample to add some variety and the track finishes at just the right length at 3:34 before it would become really repetitive.
The most irritating track on the album is the joke track "No More Mosquitos" which has a looped sample of a kid singing "Oh no no, no more mosquitos" for 3:39, the sound of a mosquito occasionally flying around and has a very weak melody which isn't even present for over 1/3 of the track. This really isn't my idea of music.
I would invite people to check out Cinematic Orchestra's "Motion", DJ Shadow's "Endtroducing" or Amon Tobin's "Bricolage", "Permutation" and "Supermodified" albums for examples of sample based music that I really enjoy. I cannot recommend this album. Sorry.
[Also reviewed on Ciao and Epinions]
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Glue Of The World
2 Twenty Three
3 Harmony One
5 Leila Came Round And We Wached A VIdeo
7 Everything Is Alright
8 No More Mosquitoes
10 You Could Ruin My Day
11 Hilarious Movie Of The 90s