Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Pôle
Inside The Dream


Released 1975 on Pôle
Reviewed by achuma, 13/03/2006ce


The second release on the Pôle label was also the second and last album by Pôle the ‘group’ (see review for ‘Kotrill’), although including only label boss Paul Putti from the personnel on the first album. Dedicated to Heldon, it was clearly made with more care in the recording and packaging quality, compared to ‘Kotrill’, and it’s also very different in style. I find this album really enjoyable and listen to it more than ‘Kotrill’, though it’s arguable which album is ‘better’. They’re both pretty good, but different. The front cover to this one shows a beautiful and strange alien landscape painted in soft blues, featuring a ghostly amorphous figure merged with a dead tree-like thing.
The side-long title track ‘Inside the Dream’ [25:10] opens the album, and features Paul Putti on arrangements and sound treatments, Marc Azad on guitar, Eric Dervieu on bass and Christian Rouch on voice. It’s almost entirely a fragile, melancholic, meditative exploration, beginning with a soft, unassuming acoustic guitar piece with shimmering electronically treated sounds hovering and wobbling in the background like friendly amoeba. A lazily sung, sparse vocal enters, but never takes over, and it all oozes along gently and in a subtly trippy way, the acid beginning to kick in whilst gazing unfocussed into a fish pond on an overcast but calm day, head filled with pleasant detached daydreams. Louder treated guitar fractals start probing around over the top, shimmering like fingers of melting ice, completing this beautiful arctic sculpture of sound. It takes a little while before you even notice the bass guitar rolling sweetly and softly in the background, underpinning it all, as the piece flows along instrumentally like a dribbling brook. At around 9 and a half minutes the treated guitar icing the top is spacing out more and more, spinning off mellow shards, fracturing and exploring ever deeper into the mind, and soon the underpinning layer of acoustic guitar and bass melts away only to tentatively re-emerge floundering in the freefall, then picking up a repeated descending mellow groove on the acoustic as the bass plods on a simple octave riff, kind of dark but hopeful, melancholy and ominous in an oh-so-subtle way. Before long the backing again drops away as it all deconstructs for a while, sonically scraping the inside of your skull but with no pain. Then a quiet, hypnotic minimal bass octave riffs kicks in, and repeats on a locked groove over a quietly ticking metronomic (uncredited) drum beat, and all of a sudden I’m thinking of Can doing ‘Yoo Doo Right’ only with utter unhurried stoned restraint and no vocals, and maybe with deconstructed echoes of some of the spaced-out guitar sounds from the most spaced-out parts of UFO’s ‘Flying’ album chucked in. After five minutes or so the groove falls apart and everyone’s freeforming, the lights are on but they’re all wearing blindfolds. Then, lo, the bass and drums (still so quiet and unassuming) lock into another simple mantric groove and away it goes again, but holding up for a mere minute before deciding to call it a day.
‘Outside the Nightmare’ [14:53] is performed by Jean Louis Rizet on ARP 2600 synths. It begins with ominously droning synth textures, oozing out of the speakers like great writhing black snakes, orbited by spiralling clusters of bleeping and clicking atoms of cyborg DNA. A slightly creepy minor key melody begins to morph out of the middle register, changing in subtle ways, all fluid and alien. This whole piece unravels in a similar dark mood, changing but staying kind of the same, fascinating like a black hole lurking in your bathroom sink, but it’s fairly pointless and difficult – and perhaps spoils the fun of discovery for people who haven’t heard it – to try to describe it all. In some ways it reminds me of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream, but really it has more of the dark, textured sonic head quality that reminds me much more of some Besombes-Rizet and Heldon. Some might say this track goes for far too long considering how little it actually changes, but to others it’s an open invitation to just melt into the couch for a while and get sucked into the sound.
‘In the Mäelstrom’ [4:47] features Rizet, Putti and Pierre Chavigny all churning away on ARP 2600 synths. It cross-fades straight out of ‘Outside the Nightmare’ with a simple clicking rhythm track, synth notes bouncing like a big rubber ball stuck in perpetual motion between two closely-spaced blocks of wood, and a third synth oozing out a simple child’s-piano-lesson-from-the-funny-farm melody over the top, as it all shifts in and out of perspective, getting warped and shunted from one space to another but still bouncing around in its stretchy sausage skin. It basically chugs along in a similar demented manner until it fades away and the record’s over.

Shortly after, or perhaps around the same time, Rizet collaborated with Philippe Besombes to make the excellent ‘Besombes-Rizet – Pôle’ album, which will be the subject of a separate review.
The ‘Inside the Dream’ album was reissued on Tapioca a few years later when the Pôle label went out of business. Both pressings are scarce and command fairly high prices, and unfortunately there has been no CD reissue so far. However, ‘Inside the Dream’ is a bit easier to find than ‘Kotrill’.


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