BYETONE: Symeta (Raster-Noton)


Posted on Nov 29th 2011 01:30 am

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Byetone: Symeta

Raster-Noton 2011
07 Tracks. 46mins24secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD Amazon US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM

A founding member of Raster-Noton with Frank Bretschneider and Carsten Nicolai, Olaf Bender first solo excursion as Byetone dates back to 1999, but in the twelve years that have passed since, the Byetone outings have remained fairly sporadic, with only two album released, one, Feld, on BineMusic in 2003, and the other, Death Of A Typographer, on Raster-Noton five years later.

Conceived out of live performances documented over the last two years, Symeta is built around repetitive minimalist technoid structures rocked by occasional intense dubbey convulsions. Over the forty-six minutes of this album, Bender assembles a extensively diverse sonic scope which takes him from the stripped down tones and glitches of Topas and T-E-L-E-G-R-A-M-M to the gritty and distorted Helix or Golden Elegy to the smoother landscapes of Neuschnee, the clinical seismic techno of Opal and the dirty electro of Black Peace.

This album is bookended by two distinct clusters of semi-related tracks. Topas and T-E-L-E-G-R-A-M-M are articulated around similar electro-static pulses and, although identified as two different tracks, they actually flow seamlessly from one to the other with no break in the beat or major alterations in the sonic landscapes. The latter however builds up into a more substantial piece when it is subjected to a persistent assault of electronic bass.

Although not quite as clearly related and not belonging to such a clearly defined formation, Helix, Black Peace and Golden Elegy all take shape around a set of more or less heavily distorted electronic sounds and textures, which is at times reminiscent of Pan Sonic at their most intense. This is particularly true on the heavily saturated Helix, but Black Peace also displays a hefty dose of twisted electronics. Here though, Bender doesn’t focus on that particular aspect so much and refrain from distressing the track’s electro set up too much. The torpor of Golden Elegy’s heavily comatose funk may appear considerably less intense, but here again Bender distorts sounds to give them a corrosive feel.

The remaining two tracks are the only ones to work in complete autonomy, the former developing from a pretty minimal sound pool into a series of slow hypnotic atmospheric soundscapes, the latter rising out of a modulated synth sound into a linear groove upon which Bender adds additional rhythmic motifs through the course of the piece.

Split between sparse soundscapes and heavily processed electronics, Symeta ends up being quite a dense collection of beautifully crafted electronic pieces owing equally to digital processing and refined electronica. For his third outing in full length format as Byetone, Olaf Bender has created a rather hard-hitting record.


Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD Amazon US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM

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