Four Tet : Pause

Warning: unassuming young genius at work

Four Tet : Pause

9 / 10 Four Tet's second album is a voyage of warm, ambient loveliness. It is its author Kieran Hebden's best work to date and confirms the prolific young soundmeister as a major talent.

Still in his mid-20s, southwest London-bred Hebden is already a veteran of three albums with his other group, Fridge, and countless singles under various monikers - as well as a guitarist in Badly Drawn Boy's touring troupe. His debut album as Four Tet was entitled 'Dialogue' and demonstrated that music is a fluent language for Hebden that encompasses electronica, jazz and rock.

'Pause', however, uses a new syntax. It has a folky feel but still feels futuristic and otherworldly. It starts with the sound of a keyboard tapping, but 'Glue Of The World' soon transports us to 'Pause''s natural terrain: a pastoral plain of scrambled acoustic guitars, zithers, rattling percussion, spectral electronics and perfectly chopped rhythm. And on 'Harmony One' he delivers no more than rustling, but it's the most harmonious of rustling.

'Pause' would, NME can only imagine, be perfect to perform martial arts to. It has that inner poise, depth and controlled power, as well as soundtracking an - ahem - gentle spirituality. Like Boards Of Canada, it is modern music for summer in the great outdoors, away from the urban sprawl. While doing Karate. At home, on your sofa, in the city

Ted Kessler

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