2pole & Christian Smith - "Licht" - (7:15) 127 BPM
Aritmetica - (5:42) 128 BPM
Hey DJ - (6:52) 121 BPM
Trust - (6:45) 128 BPM
Youngstar - (6:44) 123 BPM
Black Moon - (6:41) 126 BPM
Horizon - (6:36) 116 BPM
1ne (continuous mix) - (1:26:42) 128 BPM
Review: 2pole, who released their first EP on Tronic back in 2016, return to the label to deliver their debut album. While Christian Smith's imprint is known for its pursuit of dance floor abandon, 1ne is effective in articulating a nuanced approach to techno. This is in part thanks to a series of collaborations, including the spine-tingling trance of "Evolution", co-produced with the legendary Jam El Mar, the tribal house of "Run", where Ursula Rucker adds her unique poetic texts and the hypnotic minimalism that prevails on "Licht", with Smith himself bringing his vast experience to bare. In other instances, 1ne also showcases 2pole's own unique take on techno such as "Lethargie" where a rolling, squelchy groove veers into rave-fuelled psychedelia.
Review: Stefan Betke makes a welcome return eight years after his last LP, Steingarten. In places his style has adapted, bringing in different shades of melodic colour and tone in amongst the glitchy constructs he made his name on. At times the sound feels very different to the hushed, austere minimal dub of old, but then there are tracks such as "Wurzel (live)" that directly beam back into the heart of the original Pole sound without repeating the same tricks. If anything the sound is more dense here, pulsing with thick textures without losing that razor sharp precision that marks Betke out as an auteur in his own right.
Review: For all the theories about field recordings and dub techniques, it's the title on Stefan Betke's latest release that best sums up where his sonic approach is at. "Lurch" does exactly what its name suggests, throwing down a mid-tempo rhythm that's slightly off-beat. Combined with a looped chord and a sample of what sounds like a cat's miaow - or it could have just been the late hour that this reviewer listened to the release - and "Lurch" shows why Betke remains one of electronic music's most idiosyncratic producers. The fact that its tempo slows to a crawl before it ends can only endear the listener to Pole's machinations. By contrast, "Moos" is austere, with a menacing sub-bass and metallic whirrs and clicks showing Pole's more introspective side.