Behind label "Raster-Noton" and projects like Komet, Product or Byetone are people that are active in electronic underground environment for quite a long time now and - under their AG Geige moniker - were followed in the former DDR by "enlighted" fans. One of these artists is Olaf Bender who sets the Raster-typical crackling sounds on a warm and almost dub-like groove. Many will love to hear that - after a 12 year period - Jan Kummer once again grabs the mic and tells one of his wonderful stories of surreality (while the listeners may identify an AG Geige sample here and there). Furthermore, "Europa 70" once again constructs a monument of soundbits for an old Chemitz-based cinema.
The stoic sine curve aesthetics of Chemnitz label Raster-Noton is one of the most stimulant yet asexual in the land of minimal techno. A great label, although they like to get lost in galleries. Olaf Bender is the label's manager and released his first solo album on new founded label BineMusic from Essen. The Raster-Noton-typical booms and fizzlings alone make a great listen - but to put the icing on the cake, former AG Geige singer Jan Kummer and band mate of Bender narrates two of the album's tracks. Great album, great start and (kind of) two new and contemptonary AG Geige tracks, yet no reunion. Further releases by Tol and Frank Bretschneider are scheduled for the near future as well.
With a little delay the debut album of Byetone on the young label BineMusic should be mentioned as well. Maybe it sounds a lot like AG Geige, but i am not familiar with them. But maybe it's just the best Byetone release ever. Many funky and crispy beats in the vein of Raster-Noton set the album alive, while Jan Kummer opposites some cool beats with a concrete blueprint of life whose wordly wisdom is both unexpected and surreal. Anyway, what later happens on "Land" reminds a lot of Alva Noto, but who am i to worry as this stands for class as always.
A-ha Magazine (DE)
The debut album of Olaf Bender aka Byetone was created in cooperation with Jan Kummer (voc.), and although involving two former members of AG Geige it does not represent just a sequel of the legendary artist collective's work but is a nice piece of easy going, drum & bass touched electronic music. Kummer's surreal texts make for surprising higlights that made me listen closer again. Those mentioned collaborations were recorded live, while on the other hand, some of the tracks sound a bit repetitive due to their monotonic beats; they keep flowing through the room, almost making me forget about the music playing. I don't get the point of these sequences. For someone who is into electro music that is not techno (making it refreshingly un.pop.ular) might like it - for me, those tracks lack the ideas.
The tradition of total reduction is still good for some surprises. Still it can be quite entertaining, especially if it isn't just limited to bot dogamtism and conceptualism but if result counts as well. Young label BineMusic is connected to the museum-compatible experiments of Raster Noton, thereby showing that they are not afraid of savouring their own products. On "Feld", Olaf Bender a.k.a. Byetone uses highly reduced techno as his very own playground, fortunately not strictly sticking to the rules. While on the one hand he cultivates the charm of minimal changes and rhythmic movements, Byetone doesn't stand in awe of mixing this cool technoism with vocals of his fellow Jan Kummer which don't hide their literal demands. Like the track "Fremd" that tells us about a kafka'esque omnibus massacer involving a giant dragonian saber, a pickpocket and a man who suddenly becomes a plush bear one day, all playing important roles, while in the cold and anonymity of its sounds, the "Bar Jalta" take us in his errie claws that promise safety: "have no fear, lean on me!" quite funny surprises. Last but not least "Europa 70" imitates swinging house. Whew!
New abstract cd label with Raster Noton co-founder Olaf Bender which of course clicks in his Raster sense, not shy of telling us stories as well.
Feld was the inaugural release on the Bine label, and it was also the debut full-length from Olaf Bender, one-third of the team behind Raster Noton (alongside Frank Bretschneider and Carsten Nicolai) and, of course, an artist in his own right. Although the glitch-led austerity that's most closely associated with the core Raster Noton sound is very much evident in his work, Bender's music has always leant pronouncedly towards beats and more explicit rhythms. Consequently, micro-electro pieces like 'Land', and the jarringly accessible 'Europa 70' diverge from the sort of sound palette you might associate with the man and his label, but the mesmerising dub pinhole surgery of 'Fremd' is up there with the most precise and infinitessimal Raster Noton output.
Aah. Splendid. This is the first release on the Bine label and it's a superb collection of tracks by sometime Raster associatea Byetone. Not as hissy or minimal as Raster and featuring a much more definite groove but a similar attention to stripped detail. A tad dubby at times, but overall, it's surprisingly liable to make you tap your feet. Quality.
Igloo Magazine (US)
Hiccups and flared microfeedback stir things from the start on Byetone's (Olaf Bender, Jan Kummer) "Satin" the opening track on Feld. Warmly melodic with sensitive, but driven beats, its grooves are medi-mechanical that seeps deeply. With a distinctive pop-hiss-click, Bender and Kummer take a classroom styled spoken (German) word to task opposing the methodical mix of simple loops. The sprightly "Spur" is a percolating mix of fine mist percussion and a gyrating micro lockgroove. It sizzles and steams - ignition, vrrrooomm! Rubbery clicks fuel Feld with a hazy, crunchy uptempo. The snake-hiss, more like a freshly cut open live wire, makes "Radio" something to tune in for. Multiple repetitive layers of eccentric, flashy impulses fuse together sensually to form a completely digi-design listening experience. Kummer returns on the brief banter of the phantom "Bar Jalta" but this time manipulates his voice to speak in deepened tongue tones and helium infused levity. All exits lead to the final ambient trip offered by "Europa 70" with its wash of synths and valley of al dente popism. As the track winds 'round its tension wire of erudite pulse-beats it resists bluntly, then comes to a sudden rounded off ending. TJ Norris, contributing editor