Imagine you've pioneered a cavernous, static-heavy dub sound using a piece of busted gear (the Waldorf 4 Pole-Filter), and American indie rock mainstay Matador issued your first three albums--1, 2, and 3 (recognizable by their solid blue, red, and yellow covers)--to worldwide acclaim. Where do you go from there?

It would be all too easy to blaze a fatty and coast till Babylon falls, but Berlin producer Stefan Betke (AKA Pole, the innovator under discussion) values progression too much for that. His new album, Pole (Mute), marks a bold departure: Betke's ditched his trademark claustrophobic, glitchy atmospheres and opened up his sound to organic elements like voice (Ohio rapper Fat Jon of Five Deez), sax, and upright bass, as well as beefed-up beats. The music retains Pole's severe minimalism, but it breathes and flexes greater dynamics.

"There was definitely no fear involved," Betke asserts when asked if Pole would lose him fans. "Like you said, I was one of the first who did the glitch sound in such a radical way, and I did it for a long time. But after finishing 3, I thought I do have to evolve my music to the next level. So I kept parts out of my older work which [were] still important for me, and added new elements to it."

Still, Pole's hiphop influence--oblique as it is--may prompt some purists to gripe about a German electronicist dabbling in their sacred art, just as some questioned the validity of a white Berliner tackling dub.

"I don't think I have a Germanic take on those genres," Betke counters. "I am sure there are purists who don't like my work, but not because they say that I adopt something which I shouldn't. I am not making hiphop; I am opening a reference to hiphop, and I do the same with my dub elements. I use certain elements like the method of dub or the way hiphop cuts a loop, but I don't do hiphop!"

Will Betke ever return to the sound of his first three albums?

"You can never say never, but so far, I don't see any need to go back. I like the future and there is so much to say musically that I will have enough to do with this. I mean, people should develop themselves! People who keep doing the music they are doing for years without any experiments in it just don't want to take any risk. Boring."

For his Seattle gig, Betke, who is a mastering engineer at Berlin's legendary Rhythm & Sound studio, will bring his unique dub vibrations, threatening Chop Suey's subwoofers with bowel-busting bass, plus FX-laden keyboards, and melodica. Dunno what Jah would think, but forward-thinking non-purists should check it out. DAVE SEGAL

With Bruno Pronsato and Aaron B., Caro, and Thee Outfit. Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000, 9 pm-2 am, 21+, $10 adv.

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