Stare at the single colors long enough, and your eyes will begin to play tricks on you. Inside, Betke pulls those same tricks on your ears. Look at any a photograph in any magazine; then examine the photograph under a magnifying glass. Then a microscope. The ink, the very texture of the paper, and blending of the primary colors as more and more dots work in conjunction to create new worlds with each magnification. This is the effect of Pole on the listener—the revelation that there is a whole universe living inside one tiny molecule on your big toe.
Reissuing this trio of long players as a collected set, wherein the intensity and craft in the music must be consumed whole, was a masterstroke. This is music of extraordinary feeling, of an almost tactile sense of electricity and infinite detail working in conjunction to create a whole new universe. Each tiny crackle and pop reverberates in oceanic space while the listener floats below the surface, the waves of mammoth dub bass filtering down from some crazy dance party going down on a glacier a few fathoms above your head. Minimalism and reductionism are minimized and reduced down to their very atoms, then reconstructed in Dr. Frankenstein's lab, sparked with new, artificial life. One can almost picture Betke screaming, "It's alive!" over the Waldorf 4 in the studio.
To newcomers, this trio of classics (supplemented by four bonus tracks) frankly might be a tad boring; after all, this isn't the "minimalism" of Villalobos and his generation. But to label the music as such is to miss the point entirely. There are genuine pop melodies that stir, electronic rhythms that move, and all manner of noises to marvel over for the attentive listener. Playing Pole as mere background music is to insult Betke's craft deeply; deep, close listening reveals the greatest rewards. Play it on a big system and marvel at the depth; play it on headphones and wonder at the detail. ~Scape's timely reissue ensures that another generation has a chance to be grabbed, shook, and inspired by these masterpieces of the modern age.
Thu / 14 Aug 2008
05. Rondell Zwei
09. Rondell Eins (Bonus Track)
10. Heim (Bonus Track)
11. Sachte (Bonus Track)
12. Spaß Rewind (Bonus Track)