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Few electronic musicians offer as distinctive a signature sound as Pole. Stefan Betke's three records under this alias reflect an unusual and characteristic juxtaposition of dub grooves and crackly noise. Throbbing pulses in the sub-bass accompany reverberant midrange textures and scratchy clicks, pops, and hiss on the high end. While the first Pole record emphasized the digital noise aspect, Pole 2 aimed for a more organized fusion of theme and effects. Despite the uninteresting titles in this series, these recordings document a significant steps in Betke's artistic evolution.
Pole 3 stands head and shoulders above both of Pole's previous efforts. It appears that Betke has finally gotten the recipe just right. The bass element of this record suggests a much more organic dub flavor, hinting strongly but effortlessly at a reggae feel. Meanwhile, the clicks and pops shroud themselves in a thick tangle of high-end hiss, making this aspect of the music more abstract and absorbing. As usual, Pole sculpts these elements within a spacious, reverberant overall sound. If you've never heard Pole, Pole 3 is definitely a fine place to start. And if you're already a Pole afficionado, you can expect significantly more depth out of the most recent effort. It's exciting to witness an artist exploring the richness and depth within his intensely personal mesh of sound.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.