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Pole Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 48.95
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Product Details

1. Modul
2. Fragen
3. Kirschenessen
4. Lachen
5. Berlin
6. Tanzen
7. Fremd
8. Paula
9. Fliegen

Product Description


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

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars it's like exploring a new world June 7 2000
By I Smith
Format:Audio CD
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.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Now, why don't I like this? May 2 2000
Format:Audio CD
I'm serious! I mean, I've enjoyed Basic Channel's releases for years now. And this has some of the same minimal ideas on it...sort of. And I like Autechre, with their brand of spiky crackle-pop beats. And this has those sorts of beats on it...again, sort of. And I like dub, with that all-thru-your-body bass feel. And this...well, you get the idea. The problem, I think, is that Betke gets right up to the brink of all of these ideas on this release, and then either the elements just don't gel, or it seems like he doesn't take things all the way that they should or could go. Even the ambient elements, while they seem similar to what one finds on the Basic Channel 12"s, also isn't quite right; BC sounds warm, inviting...Pole has a harshness that really doesn't pull me in. I think the big problem here is that a lot of people have been hyping up this as being the successor to the BC legacy. Uhhhh...no. I'd more pin that label on Monolake or Various Artists than Pole, at least as far as this release is concerned. There's some interesting ideas here, yes, and I think that over some time, Betke will develop a better sense of sound. But not here.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Moody, relaxing dub with a twist Nov. 12 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I have to admit that when I first tried this album at a record store, I did not like it. See, this is not hurried music, and it takes a good listen to understand what Pole is doing. Once I was able to sample it online, then buy a copy and immerse myself in it at home, I realized that this is excellent music.
The first thing you will notice about this album is the "static." Pole's innovative use of a broken filter produces a noise that keeps each track sharp, with fluttery pops and clicks peppered on top of the dub style rhythms. Then you will hear the underlying dub beats that give a solid foundation to what would otherwise be purely experimental sounds. The album is deeply relaxing because of the bass melodies that center on a calm but lively tempo.
If you want some smart electronic music that can be used equally well for serene background music or deep listening, then Pole will not disappoint.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Correct German Dub April 20 2000
Format:Audio CD
This is a good piece of work. Different from other "german dub" artists such as Porter Ricks, Maurizio, or Monolake. Stephan Betke uses a Waldorf 4 Pole Filter (maybe not functioning OK) to produce the intrincate rythmic patterns on which he lays dub infected bass and lead melodies.
It's an original approach to create that grey and moody ambience of almost all german techno records. Add to that the proved efficiency of shuffled reggae flavored rythms and bass lines when it comes to letting the mind (and the ears) rest. Best track (and dubbiest) is # 3 (Kirschenessen). Maybe Betke should work out his synth sounds a little bit more to match the originality of the rythmic structures. Anyway, I must say I haven't listened to POLE 2 yet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dare I say funky, dare I say sexy?! Feb. 4 2004
Format:Audio CD
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.
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