Pole Gets Back to Nature on 'Wald'

Pole Gets Back to Nature on 'Wald'
Photo: Filipe Marques
This month, Pole released Wald, his first album since 2007's Steingarten. And while an eight-year gap between albums may feel painfully long, Pole mastermind Stefan Betke explains that life simply got in the way.

"After the release of Steingarten, I had been touring quite a lot. [At the] same time, we were closing down ~scape, our label Barbara [Preisinger] and I were running," Betke tells Exclaim! "There was not much time and headspace left to work on a new album. When I got back to work, it took me a while to compose tracks that I was happy with."
 
Betke found inspiration for Wald's airy, spacious soundscapes among the fresh air and virtual silence of the woods, including the Alps.

"Forests, in this specific case, were just an option to get inspired," he says. "All environments include architectural structures; man-made or made by nature. If you look closely enough, you will obviously find a lot between the lines including space. All this was an inspiration for me"
 
Breaking away from his regular songwriting style of short, digestible tracks, Wald is a 50-minute release split into nine songs, grouped into three-part multi-suites, a decision Betke describes as, "A kind of timeline. Like a choreography in dance, I combined the songs to allow development, intro and outro, as well as climaxes per act. I grouped them following a logical flow of sound."
 
With three tracks, "Moos," "Wurzel" and "Aue" originally released as a series of 12-inch records at the beginning of the decade, Betke decided to add these songs to Wald as newly recorded live versions, explaining, "Playing them live during the last couple of years, they changed a lot and became more compressed and dense than the original releases were. I think they are like an old red wine, just ready to enjoy now."
 
Listen to a live version of Wald's "Moos" below.

Wald is out now via Pole's own Pole Music imprint.