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Pole - Kotrill CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

4.82 | 3 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
5 stars The obscure act PÔLE which originated in the avant-garde underground of 1975 Paris, France is much more than a mere experimental act that released a mere two albums and then disappeared into the netherworld only to leave scant traces of its very existence. On the contrary the PÔLE appellation is synonymous in the underground world of avant-garde noise music as the epitome of far out and alien soundscapes. The name in fact belongs to the record label that released a handful of wide ranging genre LPs of different artists from 1975-77 and then disappeared without a trace. The label was founded by Paul Putti with his wife Evelyne Henri who would sign up some of the strangest left field acts of the day and even engaged in the most unorthodox salesmanship antics of pitching them door-to-door. The very first of these groups on the label would be Putti's own musical creation which despite the confusion was also named PÔLE. As a label, Putti would go on to release several albums from 15 different artists but as an experiment artist collective they would only release a mere two LPs that would both come out in 1975 with KOTRILL being the first and much more experimental of the two. PÔLE wasn't really a group per se but rather a collection of tracks with different experimental sound artists participating randomly throughout the two albums. To make things somewhat more confusing a so- called third album was released in 1975 (although with Putti, i'm not sure i subscribe to the logic) under the Besombes-Rizet moniker and guess what the album title was. Yep, it was PÔLE of course!

"Kotrill" (16:35) begins with a sputtering electronic sound rhythmically upping the tempo as counterpoints of electronically induced sputterings join in and drop out to create a free flowing river of synthesized sounds that meander on to infinity. The pitch is tense and gradually changes higher and lower as the percussive spastic drip sounds drop in and out randomly. The back masking of vocals eventually joins in as the dissonant electronic callithump parade strolls down free improv alley. The gist of this piece is that one element dominates while the others slightly change it up around it. As one drops out, the other becomes the leader. After a while a synthesized "free fall" sounds like it jumps out of an airplane for a while before it's joined by a jittery hyperactive "typewriter" sounding electronic percussive attack. All of these different elements take turns entering the scene and then dropping out. This title track is a very effective alien sounding track that offers hidden patterns embedded within but totally out of the context of anything remotely melodic. Despite the absence of melodies, the rhythmic drive becomes quite pronounced by the end of the track practically obliterating the cosmic electronica swooshiness in the background.

"Osiris" (3:30) is the "little" track stuck between the two lengthy behemoths. This one begins with what sounds like a theremin raising and lowering pitches with a percussive monastery type gong or something of the sort creating a background soundscape while whizzing electronica buzz around like angry hornets coming and going as randomly as pollinating honeybees in a blooming springtime meadow. As the percussion drops out the electronic buzzings start to talk to each other and create unnerving tension that ends sounding like a UFO just abducted someone and hyperspaced out of the galaxy.

"Villin Gen" (20:52) is the second sprawling track that begins with an unnerving drone sound that sustains one note before a second note joins it and sustains longer than expected. An unexpected melody slowly unfurls reminding of a very chilled out "Saucerful Of Secrets." The background ambience sounds like a UFO hovering in the distance just close enough to feel the uncertainty of its nebulous intentions. As the track continues the simple organ notes become entrancing with only a faint heartbeat type of percussion in the background. The UFO flying sounds also take a back seat but never really leave and change pitch and tempo and sometimes even drop out. In the middle it becomes more drone induced with water dripping. As the heartbeat loop continues on, the track slowly unwinds and fades out. This one is the most minimalist of the three tracks and the most hypnotizing as it sprawls on.

KOTRILL sounds like no other album and rightfully earned a place on the tripper's Holy Bible of experimental music "Nurse With Wound List." While it could be compared to early electronic pioneers like Finland's The Sperm or the more experimental freak outs of Can on Tago Mago, those are only the closest approximations. PÔLE was fairly ahead of its time for electronic music and created soundscapes totally unlike anything the Berlin School scene or other free form experimentation of the day were releasing. It wouldn't be until the 80s and 90s that other electronic acts would catch up and create equally alienating soundscapes utterly divorced from convention. Unfortunately the two PÔLE albums along with the entire catalogue of the label were only released on vinyl LP. Although there was a second pressing by the Tapioca label, these albums remain some of the most mysterious and obscure of what the 70s had to offer and easily go for hundreds of dollars. Needless to say they are in dire need of being rediscovered and re-released for a new era. I find this type of free form noise mixed with scant musical elements to be a very difficult tightrope act to accomplish. As with all minimalism, it takes a heavy dose of restraint to prevent a total derailment of connection and with KOTRILL there is a perfect flow of elements that align in the exact right places. I'm simply enthralled with KOTRILL like i am with scant few other albums of this sort. Someone PLEASE re-release this! It needs rediscovery! This one is only for the most adventurous seekers of all things lysergic ;)

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |


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