Stefan Betke has hit increased highs and decrease lows than most digital artists. However what makes his output as Pole uneven can also be what makes his profession so thrilling to observe: a fearlessness in making use of his appreciable talent as a producer in new, untested instructions. “I prefer to have an idea in my work,” he explains, “however I don’t prefer to increase it into an infinite repetition of itself.” Currently, his focus has been the passing of time. The German musician recorded 2020’s Fading in response to his mom’s reminiscence loss as a consequence of Alzheimer’s, and its elegiac tone mourns the misplaced previous that dementia entails. Tempus, his newest album, shares the melancholic temper of Fading, extending that album’s musical palette with decaying percussion and piano that sound like artifacts of the previous struggling to stay within the current.
Whereas Fading was filled with punchy bass and crisp percussion, Betke’s dub results on Tempus stretch elements of the rhythm part into lengthy tails of staticky atmosphere that pan throughout the sonic discipline. This backwards pull could make it tough to find out the place the momentum comes from in a tune. The opener “Cenote” strikes ahead with a modest, repeating bass groove by means of spacious synth pads whereas a resonant, reverbed cowbell brightens the observe like a streetlamp rhythmically flashing. “Grauer Sand” begins on extra stable floor, with uptempo percussion hurrying beneath hints of melody that flash and sparkle within the higher registers. The meandering “Alp,” alternatively, loses this momentum with a too-tentative bassline that appears not sure of its vacation spot. Its environment evokes a metropolis at night time, however throughout its six minutes, a suspicion arises that you just’ve been stepping into circles by means of complicated backstreets.
From Pole’s inception with the damaged Waldorf 4-Pole filter that gave his early releases a crackly lo-fi veneer, Betke has used the venture to discover the restrictions of expertise. In “Stechmück,” he revives that spirit, selecting to maintain a take by which his Minimoog was dying. Over growling bass and sharp drum blasts, a chaotic buzzing swirls like an out-of-control RC airplane. Its incongruity dangers ruining the observe however as an alternative makes it probably the most memorable on the album. Simply as his digital keyboard dies, Betke reaches for an acoustic piano for Tempus’ final two tracks, an uncommon transfer within the Pole oeuvre regardless of Betke being a skilled pianist and jazz musician. The title observe is the busiest right here, however by means of a bluster of overlapping percussion and darting synths, the piano gives shocking emotional ballast. The bassy “Allermannsharnisch” is lifted by exploratory piano chords that lend it a jazzy really feel earlier than more and more loud synth drones overtake the tune. The final sound on the album is a somber piano chord fading out—a reminder of how a lot Betke has but to discover.
For over 20 years, Betke has created digital music starting from ultra-minimalism to wide-screen maximalism. His early trilogy 1, 2, 3 launched glitch to understated, fuzzy dub and impressed a legion of sound-alikes, whereas 2007’s Steingarten showcased a extra dynamic tackle bass music that is still the spotlight of his profession. Becoming for an album in regards to the passage of time, Tempus seems to those previous approaches, combining their moody environment with the clear manufacturing and dense textures of his later work. It’s the sound of an artist drawing from his repertoire whereas demonstrating that he’s nonetheless seeking to the longer term.
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