Before I got a girlfriend who can't go to sleep until she's read Grazia cover to cover I would like nothing more than to retire to my place of rest with some good head phones. Certain albums come alive when they surround you, when all your other senses are silenced. So with the lights out and the headphones blocking out all sound an album like Mileece's Formations or Murcof's Martes would take on an incredibly powerful form. Every change in the subtle arrangement would be breathtaking when it had your full concentration. We will often take time out to read a book or watch a film but rarely show music the same respect, it's what we have on while doing something else. But some works don't play well with the others.
Though not quite as breathtaking as the previously mentioned works Pole's latest offering Steingarten may well be one of those albums. When played in the background it appears thin and repetitive, but when given the solitary treatment it is a different story. The last I heard of the Berlin based producer Stefan Betke was in 2003 - with the release of his self titled, fourth full length. This had a change up to the normal form as he enlisted the help of Fat Jon on some of the tracks. The result was adventurous yet not entirely successful. Poles music was much more stripped down maybe to accommodate the vocals but the subtle textures in his compositions were lost.
With Steingarten we still get the same reduced techno, but the compositions have a strange warmth about them. Using sampled analogue fuzz and a myriad of bleeps and clicks the attention to detail is impeccable. It's this that makes this record so special. It directs your attention to the minutia of life. If you've ever had a leaky roof you'll recognise Sylvenstein, where a delicate beat is so finely constructed out of familiar sampled sounds that it sounds like water dripping into various metal pans of varying degrees of fullness. With Schoner Land you start to notice the soft soothing repetition of the end of a record as it skips over and over. This is music that has been so meticulously constructed to appear minimal. Intricate layers of indecipherable sound are beautifully punctured by crystal clear drops of noise. The beats are inviting in their gentleness and the melodies are used as harmonic dashes of colour but are always kept fragmentary.
The whole album ends with the stand out piece Pferd. It features the only recognisable melody on the record and loops what sounds like flute and harmonica over the same delicate tapestry of beats. It's fragility finishes the album off perfectly and you hardly dare to breath once the silence sets in. This is Poles best work to date and should be appreciated in the right context. If you give it your time it will reward you no end.