Boomkat Product Review:
Leading up to Death Of A Typographer, Olaf Bender unveiled the Plastic Star EP, arguably the most dancefloor-centric release in the entirety of the Raster Noton discography, featuring remixes from the likes of Sleeparchive, who perhaps for the first time in his/their career was just about the least minimal thing in the vicinity. A version of 'Plastic Star' is included on the album, sounding as much like Pan Sonic as it does the reductive clicks and whirrs more commonly associated with the Raster Noton sound. The big, distorted melodies (yes, you did read that correctly: melodies) are far more direct than you'd expect, while the beats remain brilliantly rigid and disciplined. 'Black Is Black' offers another perspective on this curiously approachable aesthetic, establishing an actual bassline - it's rather odd to talk about a Raster Noton album in such familiar terms, but sure enough, that's definitely a bassline. Two-parter 'Capture This' is different again, drawing on atmospherically charged drones and brittle percussive patterns, resulting in a production style that invites comparisons to Kangding Ray's more full-bodied variant on the post-clicks & cuts template, although there's no human presence here (nothing so frivolous as vocals or discernible instrumentation), and however far this music strays from the extremes of minimalism, it remains icy and distant. You really wouldn't want it any other way though. While Bender's production style encroaches on techno at times, it never gets bogged down with the structural conventions of any specific genre, instead only barely fraternising with the idea of dancefloor-based music - in a sense Death Of A Typographer offers a variant on the Raster Noton sound that's been stripped of its conceptual grounding, instead content to speak the same musical language as - for example - an Alva Noto release, without the emphasis on processes or working methodologies. Despite the apparent discrepancies, this album remains instantly identifiable as a Raster Noton product, reaffirming the notion that the Chemnitz-based imprint is more than a record label - it's a genre unto itself, and as one of its founding fathers, Olaf Bender has made an important contribution, occupying a sound that's at once familiar and yet somehow more immediate and more accessible than perhaps it's ever been. Awesome.