Vast, immersive soundscapes inspired by the parts of speech we often don't think about.
A key figure in Cairo's small but musically diverse electronic music scene, ABADIR has an unpredictable catalogue, ranging from noisy club music to meditative ambient. Here he builds dramatic, pulse-quickening collages from the sounds of hi-tech weaponry, digital glitches and the human voice, bent into unrecognisable shapes. The results can be violent, though never unmusical, as ABADIR lets a rich stream of ideas flash past in a sequence of build-ups, climaxes and false starts.
Some tracks, like the taut ambient opener "I," are vast, enveloping soundworlds. Elsewhere, like in the opening minutes of "VII," ABADIR aims for the opposite: a tense cycle of creation and destruction, building huge sonic spaces that suddenly disappear as if they never existed. Each time this happens—basically, every few seconds—it's like being abruptly woken up from a dream.
As exhausting as that might sound, Pause/Stutter/Uh/Repeat also offers moments of genuinely stunning, cathartic impact. Take the standout "IV," which, after a particularly disjointed opening, suddenly snaps into focus with huge, chest-rattling bass drills.
Each of the four remixes bring out different aspects of ABADIR's experiments. While FRKTL and Faustio Mercier drag the originals further into abstraction, Ice_Eyes turns "III" into a dark percussive club track. Fellow Cairo resident ZULI's effort stands out, as he combines a roughly chopped loop and bassline to turn "V" into an unlikely synth pop banger.
ABADIR's collages mirror the "fragmentation" that he argues (in the album's accompanying text) is characteristic of spoken language. They also foreground music's more microscopic elements, suggesting that they too have a greater meaning than the idea of a "filler" might imply—a meaning that can be uncovered even if they're isolated from the structures to which they belong. Whether you find this concept exciting or mystifying, ABADIR illustrates it in intricate, breathtaking detail.