Olaf Bender, Raster Noton
co-founder has been involved in electronic music since the late 80s, first as a member of underground East German band AG. Geige, and later as a solo producer and member of live performance group Signal with Carsten Nicolai and Frank Bretschneider. Bender is behind the Raster-noton’s striking visual identity as graphic designer; his first solo release was May instalment of the 20” to 2000 series on Raster Noton (1999). The Plastic Star EP and acclaimed album Death of a Typographer were released in 2008.
Bender, (1968) was born in Chemnitz (formerly Karl-Marx Stadt), and was involved in experimental film work with 16mm movie equipment while still in school. His experiments brought him into contact with the East-German underground band AG Geige, of which he became a permanent member in 1988. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 his experiences working with a music distributor led to the idea of publishing his own musical projects. Teaming up with fellow ex-AG. Giege member, Frank Bretschneider, Bender founded the record label Rastermusic in 1996.
At the same time, Bender became part of the group Produkt with Frank Bretschneider and Tilo Seidel. Prokukt released two albums on what was then still Rastermusic, Float (1996) and Stretch (1997). Soon after, Bender and Bretschneider launched Signal, a collaborative project with Carsten Nicolai, the owner of the imprint Noton archiv für ton und nicht ton, which merged with Rastermusic to form Raster-Noton in 1999.
Bender’s first solo release as Byetone was the May instalment in the 20’ to 2000 series on Raster-noton in 1999, a twenty-minute CD of stark percussive patterns in the acclaimed CD magazine series. Several Byetone tracks were included on the 2002 Mort Aux Vaches Raster-noton edition (staalplaat); his first full-length solo album, Feld, appeared in 2003, which was released on BineMusic and featured vocals by ex AG Geige member Jan Kummer. In the same year, 2003, Bender was involved in a short-lived collaboration with Olaf Held called Lumen. Aside from the management of Raster-Noton, Olaf Bender has been responsible for the distinctive graphic design and public appearance of the label and its products since the beginning, his musical output relatively sparse over the years in comparison to other members of the owner/production team running Raster-noton.
2008 saw the release of Plastic Star, a noisy techno
record that featured remixes from Sleeparchive and Dr. Walker. His acclaimed album, Death of a Typographer followed soon after and ushered in a new period of live performance for Bender. The album was voted Record of the Year 2008
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