POLE’S NEW ALBUM TEMPUS – OUT 18 NOVEMBER 2022
LISTEN TO THE FIRST TRACK ‘GRAUER SAND’
POLE – aka innovative German electronic artist Stefan Betke – has announced details of a new album, Tempus, due out on Mute on 18 November 2022 on vinyl, CD and digitally: https://mute.ffm.to/poletempus
Tempus (meaning “the tense of a verb group is its form, which usually shows whether you are referring to past, present, or future time”) considers the connection between the past, present and future, and is, explains Betke, “…a natural development to the last album. One which goes further and is even more complex.”
It’s a natural topic for Betke to explore, not only because of the connection to 2020’s Fading – an album about coping with dementia and the loss of memory over time – but because all of Pole’s work has an interconnectedness that spans past, present, and future. While each Pole album – his catalogue glides across ambient, dub, jazz, glitch, and electronica – is distinctly singular, the albums are part of an ongoing evolution that link as much to history as they do to the future.
The presence of dub within Betke’s idiosyncratic framework of electronic music, is a constant but on Tempus, dub takes on an additional role. The dub effect units used in Pole’s music delay sound, keeping them a step behind the present before they are released, fading away again into a foggy reverb. The pace, tone and echo of dub effects are themselves traversing the essence of past, present and future within the album. It’s also one of the most overtly jazz-leaning records in Betke’s career but given his inclination to do things originally, it’s a deconstructed, mutated and manipulated form of jazz.
Watch the video for ‘Grauer Sand’ (by Rainer Kohlberger), the first taste of what to expect from the album:
Despite the neatly executed concept and nuanced themes that run through the record, Betke is still willing to embrace mistakes and accidents. In the same way his discography – from his era-defining trilogy 1 (1998), 2 (1999) and 3 (2000) reissued by Mute in 2020 – connects, the albums also share the accidental feel that gave birth to the project as a whole – Pole being named after a broken Waldorf 4-Pole filter that gave him such a distinct sound. On the new album, you hear a strange, eerie, almost unsettling wailing sound that rings out above the bass-heavy beats. “That is the sound of my dying Minimoog,” Betke says. But instead of re-recording it, he incorporated the sound of a failing piece of electronic equipment into the heart of the song, thus giving it an entirely new tonal dimension.
The painting on the cover, by Wolfgang Betke titled Großstadtwanderer, links into the themes explored on the album. Betke explains, “I found the whole atmosphere in this totally weird confused head with these little shimmery eyes leaking through the colours to totally fit the idea of Tempus.”
Pole’s ongoing musical evolution, while retaining a relationship to previous work, means that he is already naturally building an ever-stronger bridge between the present and the past. However, the deeply innovative sounds that he continues to carve and explore, and always breaking new ground with each record, means that bridge is also being extended far into the future.
Tempus exists in a unique space – the production is rich and enveloping, exuding dense yet crisp atmospherics with a striking balance between complexity and compactness throughout.
Pole Tempus is released by Mute on 18 November 2022 on vinyl, CD and digitally: https://mute.ffm.to/poletempus
“…gorgeous, enveloping music” – MOJO (on Fading)
“Little pops and glitches directly reference his earlier work, but Fading has a much fuller sound, with a feel for forward movement.” – The Wire (on Fading)
“…eight immaculately sculpted soundscapes” – Uncut (on Fading)
“a masterfully melancholy lament that takes his signature crackle and pop into unsettling new terrain” – Pitchfork (on 1, 2, 3 reissues)
“… calming abstract minimal genius” – The Observer, Artist of the Week