Olaf Bender / Senking / Frank Bretschneider SAT, Montreal QC June 23
Published Jul 20, 2007For fans of minimal electronic sound art, Germanys revered Raster-Noton boutique label is about as unapologetically crisp and conceptual as technological compositions get these days. Over their decade-plus existence, their rosters live appearances have been few and far between in North America, making this showcase in Montreal the labels first since 2004s MUTEK Festival something of a rarity. The occasion for this showcase was an art exhibit, a minimal installation piece called White Line Light featuring a white bar of neon that flickers to the pulsations of music. This exhibit will be running at the SAT until August 30, and it features sound design by the Raster-Noton family of artists. Three of the labels more notable names were on hand for the opening, and afterward they performed for the 75 people in attendance. Label co-founder Frank Bretscheider began the evening with an impressive audio-visual performance that integrated some of the recent live cinema experimentation that has evolved the art of video projection. But what made for a visceral, strobing visual presence was, sonically, lacking in pace and rhythm. For a producer so refined and patient on record, this set by Bretschneider was most notable for its indecisiveness. Senkings Jens Massel delivered a set that featured many of the deep tones that made his recent List album so impressionable. But he, too, seemed keen to overcompensate his performance, and the result was an overlong exercise in dubby beat experiments that rarely delivered a sum larger than their parts. Olaf Bender proved quite the opposite, keen to work his signature ultra-low bass and ultra-high contact frequencies into a rhythmically evolving spiral of intense sound that, by evenings end, seemed to best reflect the high standards those left in the audience had come to expect from the label.