OUT NOW ON MUTE
THE OBSERVER Artist of the Week – “calming abstract minimal genius” – 5*
MOJO Reissue of the Month – “There’s no surface, all depth: magic, emphatically, happens”
UNCUT – “Stefan Betke’s totemic dub trilogy still songs as though he conjured these ghostly recordings out of the ether, an act of studio sorcery never to be repeated.”
Pole, aka musician, producer and mastering engineer Stefan Betke, has released the remastered reissue of his debut album releases, 1, 2 and 3, collated as a box set and out now on Mute.
Released on vinyl (for the first time in nearly 20 years) and CD (remastered since its 2008 reissue), the box set releases mark 20 years since the trilogy was completed and a return to the label for the groundbreaking artist. The vinyl edition includes a bonus 12″, RAUM, originally released on DIN records in 1998.
Taking his name from a defective analogue Waldorf 4-Pole filter, the broken machine’s distinctive crackles gave Pole the starting point for his equally simple and subtle sound layers. Rhythmic textures and warmly pulsing bass lines join in play and, at least from Pole 2, experience a slow shift towards Minimal Dub.
Betke explains, “A common factor in all the releases was that they all originated in a kind of dub continuum. Melodies have never been my motivation – they were always more peripheral. But across those albums, the reverbs and the bass lines were always related and interlinked with each other. By working that way, I didn’t feel as if I was under any artificial pressure, and I could allow things to end loosely in order to continue my work.”
Pole 1 (1998), Pole 2 (1999) and Pole 3 (2000), originally released as three consecutive albums in their own right, and described by The Wire as “…a set of roadmaps for the soul”, are presented together to highlight Pole’s deliberate statement – reinforced by the titling of the albums and their minimalist monochrome cover art.
Pole’s music has a unique way of oscillating between melody and avant-garde, between pop and experimental. While many of his electronic peers swore off all danceable elements during the latter half of the 1990s, Pole decided to walk the edge, championing both radical reductionism and psychedelic dream states. Tracks like ‘Kirschenessen’ or ‘Hafen’ give ample proof that his music doesn’t limit itself to mere functionalism, but encourages new and poetic associations.
Pole’s classic 1 2 3 trilogy still resonates in contemporary electronic music. The unmistakeable crackles infiltrated both mainstream Pop and the burgeoning Dubstep scene and now, with the reissue of his first three albums, listeners get a chance to experience Pole 1-3 as a coherent entity and explore this defining benchmark in the history of electronic music.
Rondell Zwei (7:01)
Bonus 12″ – RAUM
FURTHER PRAISE FOR 1 2 3
THE OBSERVER, “just sublime…”
THE WIRE “Some of the most suggestive and poetic electronic music of its time.”
RECORD COLLECTOR, “avant-pop minimalist dub trilogy”
LONG LIVE VINYL “Listen to the LPs back to back and you’ll reach a kind of pulsing-bass-infused waking dream state.”
Buy / listen to Pole’s 1 2 3: https://mute.ffm.to/pole123