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GROUNDBREAKING artist Stefan Betke literally launched his career — and took his moniker — from a broken piece of electronic equipment that he dropped.
The damaged Waldorf’s 4-Pole filter, a sound processing device, began emitting strange hissing and crackling sounds that formed the basis of Pole’s hugely influential trilogy of albums 1, 2 and 3.
A consummate mastering engineer, Betke has more recently been a hugely in-demand producer for Berlin’s many techno artists.
Tonight’s special live show at Cafe Oto, a venue that always promises an intimate performance, Betke is set up in the centre of the room behind a huge mixing desk and surrounded by his audience boiler room-style.
You’d have thought there wouldn’t be much to look at, but Betke is such an energetic and speedy operator that he commands attention, and there’s fascination to be had with the almost organic sound he creates from the flick of a switch and the push of a button.
At one point he pauses in elated exhaustion as he takes a moment to clean the mist from his specks. The enthralled crowd give him more than one round of applause as he takes a breath and gives a circle of bows before disappearing into the throng at the end of his set.
Moving from the dubtronica sound he helped develop on his early releases to post-techno ambience, Betke can take listeners to another plane.
Long may he continue to do so.
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