Steingarten (Scape)

Pole, aka Germany’s Stefan Betke, doesn’t write ‘songs’. He doesn’t play the guitar. He is definitely not new rave. He will never support Babyshambles. He is a man operating (a red hot laptop) at the very fringes of NME’s radar. Why, you might reasonably ask, are you reading this review? Because, unlike most of the dour young studio boffins still tinkering with the glitches and discordant digital noises of electronica, Betke’s flirtatious, minimal music is quite simply one long joyous ear-gasm. His playful dub and R&B-inflected tunes bounce with energy, sparkle with a crafty sonic intelligence and radiate an almost spiritual warmth. Tracks such as ‘Warum’ invoke Jamaican dub ruler King Tubby, via spindly beats, drones and static, while the chirruping, blurry ‘Mädchen’ and pretty, metallic (and, latterly, ferociously noisy) ‘Düsseldorf’ are the sound of Hot Chip’s detailed funk taken to exhilarating experimental extremes. This is serious fun.

Tony Naylor