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Pole 1
Pole 1
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

Shy Berliner Stefan Betke has concocted a strikingly sui generis sound around the crackle of a broken Pole-Waldorff filter and disruptive digitized static compressed and set atop bobbing bass lines like clumps of powder af...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Pole
Title: Pole 1
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Matador Records
Original Release Date: 2/23/1999
Release Date: 2/23/1999
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop
Styles: Ambient, Electronica, IDM, Techno, Experimental Music, Dance Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 744861033929, 541335687721, 5413356877229

Shy Berliner Stefan Betke has concocted a strikingly sui generis sound around the crackle of a broken Pole-Waldorff filter and disruptive digitized static compressed and set atop bobbing bass lines like clumps of powder afloat in a boundless sea of echo. Betke's music is bonded by gorgeous analogue melodies; light, rattling dance beats; and dub-style undercurrents. This last element is the key to Pole, as Betke approximates the buoyant, bouncy feel of classic dub with digital effects very different from the studio trickery associated with dub's Jamaican progenitors. Only vinyl, where the filter static can be indistinguishable from the subtle disruptions wrought by dust and surface scuffs, does justice to Pole's ingenuity. The original joke is somewhat lost on CD, since those crackles seem like less of an aberration than, say, Oval's terminal glitches. But CD 1 is still vital in any format, Pole's digi-dub a singular and magnificent herald of things to come. --Gil Gershman

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CD Reviews

It's like exploring a new world
I Smith | NYC | 06/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The legend behind the sparse, crackly minimalism of Stefan Betke's music as Pole is that one day, he dropped his Waldorf 4 Pole filter, and caused it to create unintentional noise. However, it turned out to be the "sound he was looking for."Pole's CD1 (or LP1 if you've got the vinyl) is intentionally influenced by Jamaican dub. Yet Pole is unlike any dub, or any music at all, that you've ever heard. Pole creates extremely stark, extremely soothing music built around two important elements. One is the bass, where the dub influence is most apparent. These are beautiful low tones that Lee Perry would be proud of. Two is rhythms based on static (created by his defective filter). There are no drums. Though there are various other musics and sounds that, like dub, come in and out of the mix, it is the combination of the bass and static that give Pole such a unique and relaxing feel.Though one can classify Pole as minimal, Pole is unlike much minimalist electronic music in that he sets a very enticing, dark mood, and forces it to hold your attention for the entire length of the album. Even though this album can be listened to as background music, subconsciously your mind is aware of Pole, and it affects you. Songs flow into each other, making the 9 tracks feel like one metamorphizing unit. 'Flagen,' the busiest song, is the best example of his static-based rhythms; my personal favorite is the haunting 'Paula.'Though one could argue that all these songs sound the same, no one could argue that they sound like anyone else. Influenced by dub, Pole merely uses it as a platform, an idea to meld with his own music. While his second release, CD2, has more rhythms akin to traditional dub and therefore may be more accessible, CD1 is world you've never explored. And you should."
Dripping water upside down dub
JD | Tokyo Japan | 01/11/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Just picked up this disc. As a dub fiend I was intrigued by the description on the cover of the cd.
"CD1 reverses the dimensions of dub by submerging the rythms and allowing his static 'n' hiss to take the lead... The spectral dub emanating from Pole is a giant leap forward for reggae's impurists." -Mixmag
I guess that and have heard Pole's remix of Fauna Flash's "Tel Aviv" track on Compost 100, I like Fauna Flash a lot, gave me the ok to pick up this disc. At first I was like what did I buy? After a while it became very medative, and now I dig it. It is a bit out there but I recommend it. It sounds like a soundtrack to a futuristic abstract space thriller with an elusive plot. If you like this try to get Koss on the fledgling sound of speed label. I dont know how available that one is, I picked it up in Tokyo last spring.
Have Fun and Space Out in a serious way!"
Dare I say funky, dare I say sexy?!
Rinchen Choesang | Melbourne, Australia | 02/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Being a bit of an Oval fan, I was keen to dip the toe in the Pole waters. This is an amazingly funky little click/cut/pop/glitch album. The warm and charming minimalism is a welcome change from some of the more 'middle of the road' glitch style, but it often also has a bit of a 'tongue-in-cheek' approach - tracks 7 to 9 'Fremd', 'Paula' and 'Fliegen' are good examples of this.This is a great little album to have on in the background, but equally deserves an attentive listen. Like the track 'Do While' on Oval's '94 Diskont' (a current fave CD), these 9 tracks don't waste a moment of their duration. From go to whoa, this is a winner! A must in every 'weird electronica' collection."