Mute • 2022

Already on his last record »Fading,« memory—or rather, the loss of it—was at the conceptual centre of an album that charged Stefan Betke’s peculiar dub music with lots of noise. With »Tempus,« Pole now picks up on this thread and yet shifts the sonic parameters. The sound is dry, almost brittle, the mood rather subdued—a shadow lingers over these seven pieces, whose titles, as so often in Betke’s work, refer to the local flora and fauna. The music can probably all still be categorised as dub, but the stray snare on »Alp« as well as the looped drone of Betke’s »dying Minimoog« on the title track suggest that nothing on this album is meant to be mixed together into a single primordial soup of reverb and bass. Instead, the individual elements stand oddly unwieldy on their own, fitting together as a whole to form tracks in classic Pole fashion, yet seeming to exist entirely separately from each other at all times. A cowbell and piano notes running out of time, interlaced rhythms and a bassline following its own groove—if you listen closely, you will find discrepancies in the interplay of these discrete pieces that shake the overall picture. They are like memories whose details are so contradictory that they seem almost fake.