Four Tet – Pause Four Tet – Pause

With over one hundred and sixty record labels affected by the PIAS fire, it could hardly be said that music listeners are limited in choice as to which artists/labels to buy from. Hundreds of artists; some established, some relatively new faces on the scene- all of them affected by one odious incident. With livelihoods (and not to mention some great music) on the line, getting a few sponz out doesn’t seem like that much of a sacrifice. The thing about money, though, (and in my opinion its main drawback) is that it is usually hard-earned. With that in mind I personally wanted to make sure that whatever artist or label I shelled out for was one that I felt was deserving, and in some way representative of the sort of music that I hope- thanks to websites like Pinpoint and all other music sites doing their bit- will continue to be made in the future.

When I browsed over the Domino list of artists, I realised that this was a label which I owed much of my musical ‘growing up’ to. I can remember what I was doing and when I was doing it when I look at some of these acts: Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys, Archie Bronson Outfit, Pavement, Four Tet…..the list goes on. It might not be the smallest or most fledgling label out there, but that certainly doesn’t mean that Domino records are any less deserving of my cash, and as I say, I’ve certainly done OK out of them over the years.

Once these conditions had been mulled over, it was only a matter of which Four Tet album to buy. It’s strange- I used to hold the steadfast belief that any music made with electronic instruments, or, more importantly, without a very loud electric guitar- was in some way cold or disconnected. It wasn’t real. Computers and keyboards simply can’t have the same effect that a human being playing a guitar and making subtle improvisations here and there can. I now find this view nothing short of pre-historic, not least because computers and electronics are used countless times along the recording process for most bands- but also because who else sits at the controls of such instruments, if not a human? It’s simply another instrument, and he or she has as much control over a synthesizer or their laptop and Ableton or Reaktor as a hairy man does over his Gibson SG.

Pause is Kieran Hebden’s second album under the Four Tet moniker, and it’s easy to spot where it fits into the Tet timeline even without this information; Hebden’s work with his post-rock outfit Fridge was coming to an end, and his own electronic leanings were starting to enter the frame. Pause is essentially ambient music for busy people. The gentle guitar lines on opener “Glue Of The World” would themselves make perfect nap-time music, but the track’s chopped rhythms and skittering jazz drums keep the piece moving along. “Twenty Three” conjures up Northern-Irish instrumental wizard and Ocean’s Eleven guy David Holmes, with a lively pace and surreal vocal snippet ensuring your attention.

It wouldn’t be accurate to say that there are beautiful moments on Pause, because it’s simply full of them. There is nothing that will offend, nor are there chest-bursting moments of euphoria. It’s simply a lovely listen, and even if you don’t buy it I would strongly encourage a listen. If your appreciation of Four Tet is anything like mine you won’t look back.

1. Glue Of The World
2. Twenty Three
3. Harmony One
4. Parks
5. Leila Came Round And We Watched a Video
6. Untangle
7. Everything Is Alright
8. No More Mosquitoes
9. Tangle
10. You Could Ruin My Day
11. Hilarious Movie Of The 90’s

Ed. Note – This review is a continuation of our series on artists and labels effected by the PIAS UK fire (begun here and continued here and here). If you like what you read, we strongly encourage you to go buy the record via Four Tet’s label, Domino Records. Thanks!

Ed. 2nd Note – Since this record was initially released in 2001 (and therefore, already much discussed), we have declined to give it a rating.

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