Komet 20 to 2000: 01

The Noton and Rastermusic labels in Germany have undertaken one of the most exciting musical projects to deal with the end of the millennium, otherwise a big yawn. Their 20 to 2000 series features 12 20-minute CD single releases from the leading lights in experimental electronic music including the members of Pan Sonic, Coil (as elph), Scanner, Richie Hawtin remixer Thomas Brinkmann and others. Noton/Rastermusic is known for their current efforts in documenting the new minimalism, which is also reflected in the unique packaging of the 20 to 2000 series. Each month, a new release arrives in a similarly designed clear plastic CD holder; the thin round form folds on a bottom hinge. Silk-screened credits are found around the outside of the five inch discs, which are clear beyond the three inches of music (and becoming a popular format). January's first release was from one of the founders of the Rastermusic label, Frank Bretschneider (aka Komet). His four tracks share the Chain Reaction/Basic Channel crew's love of clicking/hissing/pulsing elements, which is only natural because Rastermusic means "pulse music." Komet's tones and blips are sharp and precise, so headphone listening could be dangerous. Pan Sonic's Ilpo Vaisanen's 20 to 2000:02 is his first solo release. His eight tracks of bleeps, thumps, whistles, creeks, drones and assorted noises are similar to the latest Pan Sonic album and what they do live. Ryoji Ikeda's disc from March is the ultimate stereo test recording. His "variations for modulated 440 hz sinewaves" are divided up into 99 12 second bursts of stereo panning tones that get faster and more complex as the CD goes along. Before some kind of Scanners-type accident happens, Ikeda mellows out with a final 24 second unwavering drone. Upcoming releases will be from Oval, Rastermusic's founder Olaf Bender (aka Beytone), the Noton label's Carsten Nicolai (aka Noto) and the Karaoke Kalk label's Kandis. Each disc is limited to 1000 copies so get your reservations in to your local importer soon.