• Record Label: Mute
  • Release Date: Jul 15, 2003

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 17
  2. Negative: 1 out of 17
  1. Pole is the sound of a restless musical talent and intellect seeking out like-minded collaborators, expanding their horizons, and producing an otherwise impossible synthesis.
  2. These tracks are still filled with weird sounds, it's just not the same sounds you might be expecting.
  3. Ultimately, and refreshingly, this is not commercial, but hauntingly lush electronic music for all to enjoy.
  4. 'Pole' is so minimal it's almost naked. But, by only including the things that matter, it's deceptively atmospheric.
  5. Magnet
    Think a minimalist A Tribe Called Quest. [#60, p.110]
  6. Urb
    This is not just academic and abstract music for the headphone philosopher, but proper soulful stuff that will rock more adventurous dance floors. [Aug 2003, p.90]
  7. The Wire
    This is Pole at his most expansive and communicative. [#233, p.69]
  8. Alternative Press
    Pole's organic, vibrant music suggests he's busted out of his creative doldrums with gusto. [Aug 2003, p.110]
  9. Q Magazine
    [Fat John's] hyper-literate, cosmically inclined stylings can't help but humanise -- and eventually soften -- the hard burn of circuitry. [Aug 2003, p.111]
  10. Uncut
    Perhaps creative stasis might have proved more rewarding. [Aug 2003, p.99]
  11. If you're fan of the previous work of Pole, tread gently (and skip the EPs and head directly for the album), but if you're looking to just start out with some of his work, head for his earlier releases.
  12. Pole has some worrying problems, starting with the tracks featuring Fat Jon.
  13. Unfortunately, Pole contains no revelations beyond what was revealed in the prior EPs. With this release, Betke calls his own bluff and loses.
  14. The whole of it seems passive and incomplete.
  15. 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.
  16. After listening to the whole of this album we'd have to admit that Pole remains as much of a mystery as ever. Only now we're not sure we're still interested in finding out much more...
  17. A stylistic side-step that trips and falls without making much of the tumble.
User Score

No user score yet- Awaiting 2 more ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. TimeCode
    Oct 28, 2003
    I was blown away by Fat John's flow and lyrics in this album. In the track Slow Motion Fat John exemplifies the realness of the beats I was blown away by Fat John's flow and lyrics in this album. In the track Slow Motion Fat John exemplifies the realness of the beats and thus proves the reality of the lyrical thesis. His time-code theory coupled to the glitchy beats is so cool that it sends chills down your spine. Everything we do in this life has a time code attached to it; and so as the time-code serializes, Fat John's stylistic signature represents!....the future. So we wait to see the future and vibe more with this master of time. Full Review »