Bucking expectations is a perfectly healthy thing. In fact, it should be encouraged -- especially when the expectant ones are in the forms of slobbering fanboys and copycat producers. (And, in this particular case, there is considerable overlap between the two camps.) Unfortunately, some people who decide to take up jogging -- another perfectly healthy move -- end up pulling a hamstring or spraining an ankle. In a somewhat equivalent situation, the self-titled, fourth proper Pole full-length from Stefan Betke wisely abandons a sound that had been developed to its full extent, yet the outcome is a set of hip-hop/dub hybrids that stumble out of the speakers with a fatigued skank. The fact that this is Betke's work is somewhat traceable. All glitches and sediments have been scrubbed off; the beats are straightened out and made prominent; the odd bit of instrumentation that was once implied or misshapen beyond recognition now actually exists. The result is a spotless, dulled sterility that is prone to evoking Tortoise outtakes. Ohio-based rapper Fat Jon is present on a handful of the tracks; his voice only adds another monotonous component, but he was likely placed into a deep state of half-alertness by what he was given to work with. Aspiring producers should have less trouble adopting this sound; it's hardly inconceivable that some of the results will be of a greater wattage than what can be heard here.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman
feat: Thomas Haas
feat: August Engkilde