Blue - Red - Yellow


This is the famous trilogy that made Stefan Betke aka Pole known to music fans everywhere, released on Kiff SM label (a '90s sub of PIAS Germany that mostly published Kreidler, B.Friedmann and of course Pole).

Back then, Betke had a good name as a mastering engineer (and I can assure you, he cares a lot for his sound as I found out later in a concert) and a malfunctioning filter, a combination which gave him a distinctive sound, perfectly in the middle between the then rising clicks 'n' cuts movement and the Basic Channel/Chain Reaction type dub. I remember that comparisons with Maurizio made him nervous and he tried to distinguish himself from that posse from early on. The truth is that back then there just weren't many others playing some combination of dub and electronics or techno. Anyway, I believe his work lies closer to Jan Jelinek or Friedmann (whose works he released in ~scape a lot) or Vladislav Delay (who also built his sound on a cracked echo or something).

The Blue one came as a shock to the world with his new bold cracking and hissing proposal, covering a wide spectrum of tastes, satisfying critics, academics and dope-heads alike. Either seen as an experiment or as an urban chillout album, it still sounds really well and should be considered as a milestone in experimental minimal techno and dub music. The Red one, the shorter in duration, kept in the same track, although the previously understated melodies became (occasionally) more obvious and spiced his sound up; yet the minimalist vein was still running strong. The Yellow one might as well be considered his 'pop album' of the three, in the sense that the intricate bass lines form complex and groovy rhythms while sweet melodies jump out of the cracking sounds in a practically accessible way. Almost a 'song' album, it emphasizes the dubby elements and is danceable at parts. A great record to listen when walking or in a train through the city. Overall, if you haven't heard anything of Pole, start at the Yellow one but don't miss the other two.

After these and few 12''s, Betke started his own very well known ~scape imprint, and the rest is history as they say. His sound changed a little bit, but still he sounds great and he's been supportive for a lot of old friends and new talents alike through ~scape. Respect.


Pole - 1998 CD1
info.


Pole - 1999 CD2
info.


Pole - 2000 CD3
Part 1 - Part 2
info.

Some more info here.

If you can find the vinyls of these three (or his early ~scape releases), try switching rotation speeds at the turntable. They still sound good!

P.S. Original post 2007-11-15. Added new link for CD1.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love all 3 albums, but if you're new I think 2 might be a little easier to enjoy. It is for me anyway.

Anonymous said...

Thanks - I've got al these on vinyl, but we live in a digital age now.....much appreciated! x

Nightlight said...

Yeah, i know. Anyway, some of the listening stuff is better left on the 'repeat' mode of a cd to listen to, even though Pole especially sounds WAY better in vinyl.
CD2 more accessible, eh? The first track rules anyway.

Michael said...

Just discovered your blog – fantastic, thank you for posting so much wonderful music.

Part 2 of CD1 of Pole is down. I would be very grateful if you could reup...
Thanks again

Nightlight said...

OK, will do. As soon as I sort my account problems...

Nightlight said...

New link up. Thanx for letting me know, Michael.

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Michael said...

Thanks for reposting this album so soon on my request - much appreciated

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