Stefan Betke, better known as German electronic dub pioneer Pole, caused a stir at the end of the 20th century by releasing three crackly, spacious experimental albums between 1998-2000, each with iconic single-colored cover artwork. The three albums, Pole 1 (blue), Pole 2 (red), and Pole 3 (yellow), incorporated clicks, pops, and surface noise removed from recordings mastered at Betke’s day job at Berlin’s Dubplates & Mastering studios and melded them with sumptuous bass tones, faint melodic traces, and ghostly silence. The recordings were minimalism gone dub.
Betke’s ~scape label will reissue the trilogy as a three-CD package, complete with four bonus tracks, in Europe on July 25 and the U.S. on August 5. The three albums set off a wave of experimental dub techno, and inspired artists like ~scape signees Deadbeat and Fenin, S.F.’s Kit Clayton, New Yorker Beat Pharmacy, and Detroit’s Rod Modell (Echospace).
Taking his name from a defective analog Waldorf 4 Pole studio filter that also produced some of his music’s signature crackles and noise, Betke was able to use simple elements to create deeply moving arrangements that could compliment headphone daydreams or an art gallery showing. As Eric Benoit from Massachusetts-based Forced Exposure distribution wrote, “With the reissue of his first three albums, listeners get a chance to experience [them] as a coherent entity and explore this defining benchmark in the history of electronic music.”