“…gorgeous, enveloping music” – MOJO 4/5*
“Little pops and glitches directly reference his earlier work, but Fading has a much fuller sound, with a feel for forward movement.” – The Wire
“…eight immaculately sculpted soundscapes” – Uncut 8/10*
“a masterfully melancholy lament that takes his signature crackle and pop into unsettling new terrain” – Pitchfork
Pole (aka Stefan Betke) releases his brand new album today on Mute: https://mute.ffm.to/Fading
Listen to Nebelkrähe here:
As with every new Pole record, Fading is part of a continued forward trajectory but it also connects to a pre-existing sonic framework. “In order to stay in this kind of vertical development, the ideas from 1,2,3 up to now are connected.”, he explains, referencing his groundbreaking trilogy, 1 2 3, which was remastered and reissued earlier this year on Mute.
The exploration of one’s own history relates to the inspiration for Fading. “The album was mostly inspired by the idea of memory loss,” explains Betke. “My mum had dementia and I saw her losing all the memory that she had accumulated over her 91 long years.”
A concept album this is not however. The role of memory loss was simply a springboard for Betke, an idea for the Berlin based artist to further explore through sound.This approach gave Betke the opportunity to reconnect with his own memory and past. “You can hear some little pops and glitches in the background of this recording, which is a direct reference to the trilogy,” he says. “But you hear it relatively quietly in the background, this is a little bit of a sign from me, as my history is fading away slowly too.”
Due to the multifaceted nature of Betke, the end result is an album that feels as suited for immersive headphone listening as it does to being pummelled out through a PA loud enough to feel the bass rattle your ribcage.
It may have begun life with the embrace of an accident – Pole is named after a broken Waldorf 4-Pole filter that gave him the distinct sound – but over the years it has morphed and transitioned into a finely tuned and honed project with a deft yet potent sense of evolution. Accidents are, however, still something to be cherished in Betke’s world; the striking artwork for the album being a prime example. “During a super heavy thunderstorm my TV broke down and I couldn’t see anything for 10 minutes,” he says. “As my screen was trying to recover it looked very strange. I took hundreds of pictures and when I was going through the photos, I saw these three where there are people coming into the image and fading out at the end. They look like oil paintings, and the fading away process is remade in the trilogy of these photos.”
So the presentation of the final album merges a perfect blend of considered craft with an unpredictable accident – much like the trilogy that started all this off.
Listen to Röschen here:
RECENT PRAISE FOR 1 2 3
THE OBSERVER Artist of the Week – “calming abstract minimal genius” – 5*
THE WIRE “Some of the most suggestive and poetic electronic music of its time.”
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 ALBUM DISCOGRAPHY