Berlin avant-dub maestro goes hip hop

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Three albums of digital dub put Stefan Betke at the forefront of new electronic music, but also presented him with a conundrum: how to progress when your entire aesthetic is reductive? Pole unveils his solution, employing a saxophonist, double bassist and rapper to spar with his echo deck. Betke is a brilliant sound manipulator?warm, insectivorous, covertly melodic?and “Back Home” and “Like Rain (But Different)” rate among his finest. But Fat Jon, the pensive Ohio rapper who figures on half of Pole, is at best a distraction. Perhaps creative stasis might have proved more rewarding.


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The Velvet Underground, The Black Crowes, Bunny Wailer, Richard Thompson, Nick Cave, Rhiannon Giddens, Laurie Anderson, Blake Mills, Postcard Records, Mogwai and The Selecter