Released: July 1998
Black text in a dark blue sleeve: that's just the cover and liner notes of Pole's first album. To describe this album as murky and odd is probably right on target, though most people would consider the terms too generous. Pole's music tangentially inhabits the realm of white, cold electronic dub, but where most dub acts (even electronic ones) rely upon traditional drum and bass sounds to create their music's ambience, Pole relies on found sounds like static, cracks, and aberrant noise: the very parts of the recording process most engineers try to eliminate. All this makes Pole's music sound like the work of odd, creepy elitists. However, the static and hiss effects are so original and executed so wonderfully that this album is a joy to listen to as well as appreciate. What Pole does well is fuse two key strands of electronic music: the penchant for odd, distorted noise and the frequent, even obsessive use of haunting, sci-fi synth atmospherics. Unlike other electronic artists, however, Pole manages to take these IDM staples and combine them with all the trademarks of dub, including an obsessive use of echoes, deep bass sounds, and free-wheeling experimentation. This combination makes this one of the most rewarding albums of recent years.
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