Artist: Pole Folder feat Shelley Harland
Title: Radio 101
Label: Proton Music
By: Carleton Neil | 14 April 2008
  • 1. Radio 101
  • 2. Mona Kea

Pole Folder feat Shelley Harland "Radio 101"

Out Now on Proton Music

If listening to music were like going to class, Benoit Franquet would be your professor. Better known as Pole Folder, this trumpeter, Belgian rock star and producer's musical diversity took him from Sony to Sasha, where he was then signed to Digweed's Bedrock label, releasing the gracefully downtrodden 'Zero Gold' LP in 2005. Pole Folder's star scholar of course would be Shelley Harland. No stranger to collaboration, she's teamed up with everyone from DJ Rap and Junkie XL to Guru of Gangstarr and Jazzmatazz. Here she's offering up vocals for 'Radio 101' and 'Mona Kea'. Queue up your playlists and get ready for Proton Music's latest offering from Pole Folder: 'Radio 101'.

The strong presence of a bass guitar forms the foundation of 'Radio 101' but with it Pole Folder has fleshed out a split definition of progressive house: the funk which preceded disco and then house, but surrounded by all the movement and evolution of 'progressive' as it might be defined today. By utilizing only the kick, Pole Folder leaves plenty of room for Harland's voice to glide by as the track bleeps and crashes. His guitars stretch and grow with intensity as they wallow through a game of Twister with a gimped arcade machine just as the percussion builds, adding a crisp snare and a busy high end. Beneath the spooky synths, Miss Harland plays the part of some vocal Pied Piperess, stringing along pinging fills that scatter frenetically like gnomes. Don't expect 'Radio 101' to rocket you to the moon, this is a slow burner. Try it on a late night drive, you might be surprised.

Guitars seem to be a recurring theme in this release, this time the steel variety, floating aimlessly on a sea of quiet hi-hats through the beginning of 'Mona Kea'. While they enjoy a game of Marco Polo with Shelley's wandering vocals, kicks rattle down metal hallways and somber strings swell and transform Harland's McLachlan-esque crooning into rhythmic requiem. Murky basslines toil beneath Harland's mournful call amid melodies crumbling with digital decay and bubbling fills that boil up like a sonic caldera as Harland whispers a somber secret in your ear at the end of all things.

The cyclical nature of music makes Harland's smooth vocals and Pole Folder's sad ambiance a welcome respite from today's more popular genres. It is encouraging to see Shelley Harland getting the opportunity to collaborate with the likes of Pole Folder; stylistically the two make a great fit, if Harland's 'Into The Dark' and Pole Folder's 'Salvation On Slavery Sins' were any indication. 'Radio 101's sly smirk of a guitar gives the track a slight hint of lightheartedness that grows on you and keeps it from becoming too lonely while 'Mona Kea' ventures down the darker path which gives Harland a chance to shine. This release is a little different than most of what's out there today and that alone warrants a listen.

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