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Philippe Besombes - Pôle CD (album) cover


Philippe Besombes


Progressive Electronic

3.75 | 21 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars That sure doesn't look like an ordinary fag that guy is smoking... and don't you just love those old 'Chewbacca' woolly sheep coats people wore without shame in the 70's? What a decade! So tasteless it just makes you laugh out loud and wish you were back in that era where anything was acceptable.

This is an ambitious double album from '75 - around that time where even quadruple albums were acceptable as certain record companies sat back and let the musicians take control. The opener 'Haute pression' is similar to Floyd's 'One of these Days', but replaces bass with a keyboard throb. 'Pole' is a good example of electronic underground rock where there's much experimentation at play. One thing's for sure - this isn't a musical score played from written notes. Nothing is rushed or condensed. It all just seems to play out real-time.

The Paris based 'Pole' label was similar to their 'Cosmic Courier' counterpart in Germany, where many artists came and left as a sort of extended family. This recording has lots of Arp, VCS3 and Mellotron keyboards. The biggest similarity with 'Pole' would be 'The Cosmic Jokers' from Berlin. This is a bit more varied with lots of unidentifiable sounds and electronic phasing.

At a gargantuan 76 minutes they've plenty of time to carry out their arty experiments and it works well. If this were squashed into 40 minutes, I'd imagine it would have been an unholy tangled mess.

The highlight on 'Pole' has to be 'Armature double'. A glum, slowly evolving piece of electronica which comprises Electric piano, Mellotron and sudden bursts of industrial noise, slowly paced and quietly evolving. Where did these guys get possession of such fancy equipment? It's not as if they had huge amounts of money. In those days electronic machines cost an arm and leg. Literally.

Pleasingly it's also well produced, being clear with lots of resonance and dynamics considering its age. However, you can clearly hear their vocal limitations on 'Rock Ă  Montauban ' which are as tuneless as early 'Faust'. but like most European bands of the time - there was no front-man, no leader and vocals are considered as important as what's being played around them. All for one and one for all.

On the final 22 minute track 'Pole' go all out flanger-tastic where every sound is crushed through phaser ridden technology which always brings a smile to my face.

For most listeners this album will sound too directionless, too tuneless with a multitude of 'noodling' and electronic knob twisting to be of any real value. These criticisms are valid, but you have to admit, it's a good laugh.

Dobermensch | 3/5 |


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