tanzboden

format: 12inch vinyl / digital
label: mute records
cat.#: MUTE630
release date: aug 13th 2021

Tracklisting:
1. Tanzboden (6:36)
2. Rost (6:02)

The new track originates from a series of loops created during the recording sessions for his first new album for Mute in over 15 years, Fading, which was released in November 2020. Fading was about loss of memory and how memory disappears over the years as we grow older, and these loops were discovered when Betke had returned to the original recordings. He explains, “I began working in my Berlin Studio, doing research and listening to the single recording sessions of Fading to remember what I did exactly and to find out what I think about the recording months after finishing it.”

Stefan Betke continues, Tanzboden is an old fashioned word for a dancefloor constructed during the harvest time, mostly outdoors, and Rost is the German word for rust which is an interesting connection to Tanzboden. If the dancefloor is not really used for a long time anymore it starts to rust, and as the screws and metal plates which are holding the wooden parts together disappear slowly over the years, so does the Tanzboden itself.”

The two tracks both link back to Fading and at the same time mark the beginning of new recordings. “Listening to them with a new album in mind, I liked them even better!”

Tanzboden was released August 13th 2021: https://mute.ffm.to/tanzboden

fading

format: 12inch vinyl / cd/ digital
label: mute records
cat.#: STUMM458
release date: nov 6th 2020

Tracklisting:
1. Drifting (8:36)
2. Tangente (5:08)
3. Erinnerung (6:44)
4. Traum (6:10)
5. Tölpel (4:26)
6. Röschen (6:12)
7 Nebelkrähe (7:54)
8. Fading (5:31)

“Unfortunately there’s not a new piece of gear that broke making this album,” laughs Stefan Betke. “I don’t think that will ever happen again.”

Betke is referring to the origins of Pole and how accidentally dropping and breaking a Waldorf 4-Pole filter gave birth to both the name and distinct sound of his solo electronic project.
His opening trilogy of albums 1,2,3 were a benchmark moment in electronic music, with him seamlessly traversing across glitch, dub, minimal techno, ambient and electronica. Reissued by Mute earlier this year to celebrate the 20th anniversary, the trilogy reaffirmed its game-changing status in contemporary music. In their 5* review, The Observer called it “calming, abstract, minimal genius.”

To neatly solidify this year of Pole, Betke is also back with a new album Fading – his first since 2015’s Wald. As with every new Pole record, it’s part of a continued forward trajectory but it also connects to a pre-existing sonic framework. “Every Pole record connects to recordings that I’ve made before,” Betke says. “In order to stay in this kind of vertical development. The ideas from 1,2,3 up to now are connected. I keep the interesting elements, languages and vocabulary that I designed and add new elements.”

The idea of exploring one’s own history is also loosely linked to the inspiration for this record. “The album was mostly inspired by the idea of memory loss,” he says. “My mum had dementia and I saw her losing all the memory that she had accumulated over her 91 long years. When losing that memory it turned into what she was probably like in the beginning of her life when she was born – like an empty box.”

A concept album this is not however. The role of memory loss and his mother was simply a springboard for Betke, an idea to further explore through sound. “It was the motor for moving in this direction,” he says. “So for the opening track, ‘Drifting’, there is the idea of a whole lifespan that starts pretty empty and it gets fuller and then it ends with this kind of bell sound in the background. Or ‘Fading’, the last track, deals with the idea of fading away and disappearing slowly. But you always leave something. You leave a feeling or an image or an atmosphere. Everybody who lives leaves something on this earth.”

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, it’s not really too heavily featured. This is a little bit of a sign from me, as my history is fading away slowly too.”  

However, much like the subtlety of Betke’s past can be heard hissing and popping away like a faraway echo, the idea behind this album is to be considered more of an inspirational underpinning than a set-in-stone theme. Pole’s music has always been multifaceted, blurring lines, genres, tones and Fading is no different. ‘Tölpel’ melds immersive crackles with bass-heavy beats, ‘Tangente’ unfurls via subtle yet unpredictable pulses, whilst ‘Nebelkrähe’ manages to simultaneously feel intimate and richly warm yet also endlessly airy and spacious. “’Nebelkrähe’ is really one of my favourites because it is so heavy but has so many details in the background,” Betke says. “It also probably has the most direct connection to the trilogy.”

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. This has always been key for Pole. “Whenever I compose a piece of music it has to have this element to it,” he says. “I need to be able to listen to it in the car when I go to the seaside or in my living room or in a club. The main idea is to make music that is multifunctional. From the beginning onwards, that was always the idea.”

As someone who also runs a mastering studio for disc cutting and digital mastering
(scapemastering), the tone of the album was understandably something Betke spent a lot of time on. “I think it’s a really warm-sounding record,” he says. “I go really deep into the sound design. I was very focused on the depth of it. Instead of having 15 four-minute tracks I was more into focusing on 8 long pieces that actually sink in. I wanted to fill your head up with atmospheric sounds. I really try to avoid overloading the tracks. It has to be on this thin edge between just enough information to keep things interesting but not too many ideas that it gives the impression it could be two separate tracks.”

Pole may have begun life with the embrace of an accident but over the years it has morphed and transitioned into a finely tuned and honed project with a deft yet potent sense of evolution. However, accidents are 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. Immediately I felt the need to get my camera. 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.  “I have a sense for mistakes,” he says. “I see a mistake coming. It was the same with the broken filter all those years ago. Everybody said, get this fucking thing repaired, it doesn’t do anything’. I said, ‘no, no, no, no’”.

Fading was released by Mute on 6 November 2020: https://mute.ffm.to/Fading

pole remix for Freund Der Familie (FDF009)

January 28th 2021 FREUND DER FAMILIE is releasing the “Panorama Mixes” 10 inch (white vinyl!) containing a remix of pole.

Bleep Podcast #142

pole has recorded a podcast for Bleep.com! “This mix includes some older music which is in my record shelf for ages already and some new music which will stay in my record shelf for ages. Inspiring music and music for the soul. I hope you will enjoy listening.”

Limited edition of “Fading”: Aztec Gold Vinyl + Poster

Aside the regular album formats double 12inch vinyl, CD and digtal, a limited edition of pole´s album “Fading” is available as Double Aztec Gold Vinyl in gatefold sleeve and spot gloss finish with high definition download code at your local record store. Follow this link for ordering a copy including poster: ORDER LINK!

Now available on Bandcamp: The album “pole” (Mute, 2003)

The album “pole”, released on Mute Records in 2003 (feat. FAT JON) is uploaded on pole´s bandcamp site. The upload includes the tracks of the single releases “45/45” and “90/90” (instrumentals and bonus tracks).

pole 1, 2 and 3 available as digital files on bandcamp

After the re-release of my albums 1, 2 and 3 collated as CD and vinyl box sets on Mute records april 24th , I´m very happy to announce the availablity of the digital files on my bandcamp account.

pole 1 2 3 box set out now

Pole´s 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.

The limited vinyl box set was sold out straight away, but the CD box is still avalable.
A re-press of the single vinyl releases will follow.
For listening and ordering: mute.ffm.to/POLE123

pole´s trilogy 1 2 3 will be re-released april 24th 2020

Pole, aka musician, producer and mastering engineer Stefan Betke, has announced the remastered reissue of his debut album releases, 1, 2 and 3, available on Mute Records as a box set on 24 April 2020.

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.

Listen to ‘Silberfisch’, taken from Pole 3 and Pre-Order here: mute.ffm.to/POLE123

lurch (version)

format: 7 inch vinyl / digital
cat.#: PL14
release date: 29.01.2016

Tracklisting:
a: lurch (version) (3:49)
b: lurch (version – peder mannerfelt remix) (4:20)

A Limited 7″ release by POLE including a remix by PEDER MANNERFELT!

After his album „WALD“ pole releases a version of his track „Lurch“ which was available as bonus download track in Japan only.

The flip side includes an exceptional stripped to the bones remix by Peder Mannerfelt (Roll The Dice, Subliminal Kid)
Limited to 300 copies!

pole on bandcamp

pole´s music is available on bandcamp now. The first available releases are the album “wald” and the 7 inch “Lurch” (version) with a remix by Peder Mannerfelt. pole is going to release his complete back catalogue step by step, accompanied by single compilation tracks and remixes. Updates will be announced to bandcamp pole subscribers as well via pole´s facebook site.

march 24th 2017: Conrad Schnitzler & pole

The German pioneer of electronic music Conrad Schnitzler (1937-2011) amassed a vast archive of sounds for use in combination with each other in live performances. In 2011 the idea came up of con-structing new compositions, not remixes, from this material. The Con-Struct series was born. This release features con-structions by Pole: Conrad Schnitzler & pole – Con-Struct will be released on Buerau B as CD, Vinyl and Digital Download march 24th 2017.

pole “lurch – version” – 7inch

January 29th 2016 pole releases a limited 7inch including a remix by PEDER MANNERFELT!
After his album „WALD“ pole releases a version of his track „Lurch“ which was available as bonus download track in Japan only.
The flip side includes an exceptional stripped to the bones remix by Peder Mannerfelt (Roll The Dice, Subliminal Kid)
Limited to 300 copies!

If you would like to order the 7inch directly from pole, please send a message including your full address (shipping address) and your paypal address with the subject “order lurch” via the website (contact/imprint). You will receive a paypal invoice and the record will be shipped after the payment is received.
7inch: 8,50 €
shipping costs:
Germany: 2,50 €, International: 5,00 € – Registered Letter: plus 3,00€ per letter

press quotes on pole´s album “wald”

Since the release date of the album “Wald” in September 2015 we have found quite a bit of interesting reviews and articles in international press and online magazines.
Thank you to all the the journalists who wrote some critical articles about my new album and for your support!

Resident Advisor 07.10.2015
„Betke’s complex work has never been so joyful, free and emotionally rounded….This is a record of great technical skill and imagination, and one that’s also nonetheless soulful and sincere. It’s a testament to Betke’s artistic integrity that he waited patiently for eight years, only releasing Wald because he had something fresh and distinctive to offer.“

Electronic Beats Magazine (print) autumn 2015  (by Deadbeat)
„At a time when so many musicians are lazily mining the past in lieu of charting new creative tracts, WALD is truly a breath of fresh air.“

Drowned In Sound 15.10.2015
As usual, however, Betke knows exactly what he’s doing. Wald, like 2007’s excellent Steingarten and 2003?s underrated self-titled effort, is an evolution of the minimalist dub techno sound Betke first pioneered in the late 1990s…. Unlike those two records, Wald is truly the sound of Pole without filters. Textures bleed into one another to create something that is consistently both beautiful and mysterious. …Yet it is also wholly different from previous works, making it an extremely successful comeback from a true master of modern electronic music.

XLR8R Feature 28.09.2015
„Betke’s just put out Wald, his first full album since 2007’s Steingarten—and it’s perhaps his most intimate and contemplative work yet.  Wald’s a peaceful and warm collection of song—it’s a welcoming, beguiling record, despite that crackle and the occasional shard of distortion. It’s also a plain old great sounding set, proof of his years spent toiling in the mastering business. „

Inverted Audio Feature 11.09.2015
„The music of Stefan Betke aka Pole is in a constant state of flux. His recordings are evidence of his musical evolution, milestones along an open-ended journey. But this does not mean Pole’s albums are provisional or incomplete; on the contrary, they express a kind of perfectionism always aimed at reaching an imagined musical core. For Pole musical reductionism isn’t repetitive or deterministic. It involves constant motion around an ideal core, the smallest possible unit. As a result, all of Pole’s releases, despite their differences, are united by a central question: “How can one extract the most intensity from the least amount of material as possible?”

Forestpunk 20.09.2015
….Unsurprisingly, Betke´s music sounds very, very good indeed. The Bass is deep and crisp, having a hefty dubstep growl, while being tight and focused like a techno track. All of this is filtered through Betke´s dub sensibilities, giving the omnipresent feeling of disembodied hands on the faders. In a world full of possibilities, Betke knows when to keep it simple……

The Wire (print) 9/15
„Given his stylistic transformations in the 2000s were accompanied by a slowdown in releases – from four albums in as many years to a four year wait between 2003’s Pole and 2007’s Steingarten – Wald comes loaded with expectations of creative seclusion producing yet further radical shifts in style…. The cleaner, brighter sound of that record, borrowing bounce from hiphop and the unprecedented use of actual guitars from Fennesz, remains. On Wald, Betke builds on it, producing an album with a grasp of sensuality at the other extreme from the soft, grainy abstraction of the dub techno releases with which he first made his name.“

Dusted Magazine 18.09.2015
“…..Even with incremental developments in the Pole style, Wald surprises and creates suspense. “Eichelhäher” works with a metallic screech on a hobbled repeat. On some passes, it rips, other times it wheezes. Measure by measure, more hairy tones work their way in, ‘til by then end, it’s a half-dozen broken motors spinning. Only Betke could make such a pile of distortion feel so free of aggravation. Stepping gingerly and keeping balanced in precarious places, Wald is a cat. It’s as pleasing as a purr.”

Pitchfork 15.09.2015
“…..Those dub mechanics have a lot to do with the music’s flexible rhythms and odd syncopations, which contribute to the mercurial sense of flow: There are almost always more elements in play than you can track, and whatever silvery filament you choose to focus on, your attention will soon be hijacked by something else. Still, there’s nothing hectic about the listening experience;…..Wald is every bit as contemplative as the forest walks that inspired it. It has an unfettered sense of motion that, for an artist who was once, by his own admission, stuck in a rut, sounds like the sweetest kind of freedom.”

Cyclic Defrost 20.09.2015
“….As you’d expect, the nine tracks collected within exhibit evidence of a considerable shift in Betke’s sound over the ensuing years, but while there’s an increased use of both clarity and distortion, familiar traces of his dubby roots remain firmly in place.”

pole “wald”

release date sept 11th 2015: wald
The vinyl version includes a free digital download code.
LISTEN & BUY.

 

Album Release Concert:
pole & mfo presents “wald”
audio visual live show
sept 24th 2015 London – Village Underground
with Robin Fox + Atom. Produced by the Barbican in association with Unsound and Club To Club at Village Underground.

wald

format: double 12inch / CD / digital
cat.#: PL13
release date: sept 11th 2015

Tracklisting:
Akt 1:
1. Kautz (5:23)
2. Salamander (4:44)
3. Moos (live) (6:46)

Akt 2:
4. Myzel (6:05)
5. Wurzel (live)(5:40)
6. Aue (live) (6:01)

Akt 3:
7: Käfer (5:21)
8. Fichte (4:23)
9. Eichelhäher (4:55)

The vinyl version includes a free Digital Download Code.

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“Wald” begins immediately, ends abruptly, and is divided into three acts over three tracks. It is the first studio album under Stefan Betke’s Pole moniker for eight years – not counting the three 12″ EPs under the title “Waldgeschichten” (released in 2011/2012 and which were something like preliminary studies for this new album). Eight years is half an eternity in the digital age – yet the pieces on “Wald” seem timeless, or to have fallen from time. Stefan Betke: “After Steingarten I was on tour for two years. At the same time, Barbara Preisinger and I set up our record label ˜scape. Those were two hindering circumstances that were not exactly conducive to a creative restart.”

And it is indeed intended as a new beginning: “I couldn’t have really added anything new in the wake of “Steingarten” and the dub declensions I had made in previous years.” Yet repeating himself was not an option. And in waiting for inspiration to strike, there was an urgent need for the required “headspace”, or as Betke puts it: For the mind to be clear enough that a new beginning could occur naturally, without being forced. (A number of pieces had been written, according to Betke, but were discarded because he detected a kind of automatism that needed to be overcome. Perhaps he’ll listen to them again some day).

Over several years, long walks in the woods preceded the resumption of the production of his own material: “Walks through the Isar valley, but also through the forests in the Alps.” He was essentially waiting, applying patience, and viewing life as battery which needs to be recharged. But he immediately corrects himself: “Just waiting is also not a solution. You have to go through life with an open mind and with extended antennae. If something strikes you and inspires you to create new music, then it will be for a reason – enough of a reason to follow that inspiration under any circumstances.”

For Pole, it was the forest: its spatiality; the above, below and beyond; the horizon, offset by the vertical axes of the trees. “With previous albums, the city was that forest. Inspiration came from a walk through Berlin or Manhattan, where I could hear or see or read something and then understand that it is possible to continue.” So the forest was where Pole found the urge to “transcribe” that nebulous feeling into music.

On “Wald” it is manifested, for example, in raw sounds (act 2) and in psychedelic structures (act 3), which sound as if they might be guitars (but are actually distorted synthetic lines). Above all, at the turn of the decade, Pole conceived an idea as his sparring partner, which initially enabled him to release Waldgeschichten 1, 2 and 3 and to then spend three years working on Wald. From the tangible experience of the forest, a rather abstract question emerges: “How can I take what I have seen or felt and make it audible?” This question becomes a narrative, a story line. The initial story is that Pole went into a dialogue with his instruments, and the second story can be heard in the three acts of Wald.

The new compositions on Wald do not deny their inheritance within the continuum of Dub, yet they bring an entirely new vocabulary to Pole’s sonic and spatial universe. We know this from the visual arts, when an artist develops a kind of symbolic vocabulary that becomes inextricably linked with the artist himself. These symbols are delimited until they become exhausted, and thus the search begins for a new alphabet or vocabulary, in order to conjugate it once again. The same, but different. “If Wald had nothing to do with the world of Pole, then I would have come up with a new alter ego and produced it under a new name.”

The structures, forms and processes that Betke perceived in the forest were translated into musical structures, forms and processes that inherently sounded like Pole. Perhaps the forest simply produces reverberations (just like the echo in the mountains!) that give rise to a bounty of thoughts. The story behind it is told in music, without the use of words – as has previously so often been the case with Pole.

Author: Max Dax – Translation: Alexander Paulick-Thiel

4th sonic preview on “wald”

Here comes the 4th preview of my upcoming album “Wald” which will be released September 11th 2015 on my label “pole”. The album will available as double 12inch vinyl, as Digipak CD and as digital download.

3rd sonic preview on “wald”

With the 3rd sonic preview of my upcoming album “Wald” I´m happy to announce that the official release date is set for September 11th 2015. The album will available as double 12inch vinyl, as Digipak CD and as digital download.
Upcoming show of pole & MFO:
September 24th – London at Village Underground w/ Robin Fox + Atom.

pole announces the album “wald”

I´m very happy to announce my upcoming album “Wald” with first sonic previews.
“Wald” will be a 50 minutes piece divided into 3 acts, with 3 tracks per act.
More snippets of “wald” will follow during the next weeks on my soundcloud site.
The album is scheduled for mid September 2015.

pole presents “wald” featuring MFO

pole´s upcoming album release  “wald” will be presented in an audio visual collaboration with the video artist Marcel Weber aka MFO.
The premiere will take place at Intonal Festival in Malmö, Sweden, april 25th 2015, followed by several A/V shows in North America e.g., Mutek Festival (Montréal, may31st), Kremwerk (Seattle, june 4th) and Non-Event at Le Laboratoire (Boston, june 7th). Thanks a lot to Goethe Institut and Auswärtiges Amt Germany for supporting this tour financially.
The album release is scheduled for mid september 2015,
More information about “wald” will follow, soon.
See more shows announced at pole´s event page.

waldgeschichten 3

format: 12inch vinyl / digital
cat.#: PL12
release date: aug 27th 2012

Tracklisting:
a: lurch (6:37)
b: moos (7:37)

The third and final part of the “waldgeschichten” 12inch series highlights and expands upon pole´s distinctive sound, connecting to the first two parts of the trilogy in a charming way. Again a fundamental element is the very specific drum sound embedded in complex dubby structures, seamlessly unified with the warm and deep basslines.

If you have had the pleasure of listening to one of pole´s live concerts recently, then you will immediately recognize the “lurch” and “moos”.

After the stripped down second part of the trilogy, with its wintery atmosphere, these tracks appear to be floating in melancholy. The field recordings and sounds fade away into echoes, grounded with massive bass.

This is a perfect conclusion to the series, offering a foretaste of the upcoming pole album.