Raster-Noton, full name is raster-noton. Archive for ton and nichtton, 1999 is a product derived from the fusion of two short-lived predecessor label for experimental electronic music based in Chemnitz. Since the founding of the predecessor labels mid-1990s to early 2012, nearly one hundred and fifty publications were presented. With them the label, especially in the Clicks & Cuts - genre within a few years one of the most prestigious labels was worldwide and is next to A-Musik and Mille Plateaux as one of the leading label for experimental electronic music in Germany.

Founder and operator of Raster-Noton are Carsten Nicolai and Olaf Bender. The close connection between the operator and many artists of the label to the visual arts has guided to a special emphasis on the design of publications as well as the presentation of the label. Many of the publications appear as part of series that belong together artistically and conceptually.

  • 5.1 series 5.1.1 clear
  • 5.1.2 static
  • 5.1.3 20 'to 2000
  • 5.1.4 raster post
  • 5.2.1 Documentation and catalogs
  • 5.2.2 mini-series and cycles
  • 5.2.3 sub-label / distribution
  • 6.1 Grid Series
  • 6.2 Clear series
  • 6.3 Static- series
  • 6.4 20 'To 2000
  • 6.5 Grid - mail
  • 6.6 Other


The musical range of labels ranging from electronic art music ( William Basinski, Kim Cascone ) over experimental techno, ambient and dub to standing outside the music sound art or even noise ( Ryoji Ikeda, Franz Pomassl, Marc Behrens, Disinformation ). Many artists or projects can be the Clicks & Cuts genre assign a special variety of electronic music that developed since the mid-1990s, especially in Europe, some from the art area.

The special feature of many, especially earlier Raster-Noton releases of all stylistic categories of time is a poverty of the sound. Common characteristics are in extreme cases completely repetitive or only slightly varied rhythmic structures sometimes often only fractions of seconds -long sound events whose frequency spectrum is very narrow, down to a pure sine wave. At the same time, the sound spaces of only low-density, whole pieces are taken from only a few, extremely if completely isolated tones whose frequency spectra as little as possible overlap and partly not sound parallel.

Opposites such as " very low - very high," " very loud - very quiet ", "very long - very short " and "very fast - very slow" be placed hard against each other. Unusual is often the origin of the sounds: crackling, popping, crackling and noise arising in the classical manner of glitch glitches or take on its aesthetics.

Many artists have worked closely over the years and a lot with Raster-Noton, publication exclusively here Home Artists do not exist but even the core of the founders has always published outside their own label. For particularly narrow radius of the label with many recurring publications include mainly Сон and Senking, but also Ryoji Ikeda ( as a soloist and in collaboration ) as well as at times, the Finnish duo Pan Sonic ( both together and as soloists).

Self-understanding and presentation

From the beginning, Raster-Noton worked with the methods of the consumer world, and understood to some extent as part of it. As early as 1998, during the times of the individual labels, Nicolai said, " No question - is primarily " noton " a music label and is working with the structures of the industry. [...] " Noton " works as a label, a brand name, an umbrella term, as some render it more recognizable " Nevertheless, the operators are trying to maintain independence and distance to this ". Contents are difficult to consume - in this way it is not mass product. "

Manifest this self-understanding in the publications themselves Both the (apparent) artificial scarcity through limited editions of only several hundred to a few thousand pieces and lack pressings of regular publications as well as for sound carrier -consuming and semi luxurious and elaborate design gives the character of Publications of something special.

With the increasing success of Raster-Noton is trying to set them against an appropriation by the market: "We are already working now with Karl Marx. Because we realize, of course, at once, that we operate commodity fetishism. But we do try to respond to the time ", but without giving up the specific and very own profile ." We have with " Xerrox " now a memory card released, that would be more our intention. "

The initial radical in concept deviates by more than a decade carefully a more diverse, less purist approach: " For us it was formerly more decisively a matter of producing only the pure information and communicate. [ ... ] There are of course the discussion, something in this phenomenon, [ ... ] to break. " " Of course also the narrowed formalistic forced a [ ... ]. Many of us have just to work the need of votes, it's already gone from the plant, " as the first result of this approach was published on March 26, 2008 " Сон plays Cosey ", a highly vocal community -based work with Cosey Fanni Tutti of Сон.

Much has also become the special aesthetics, which makes use of the label by imitations and adaptations is of course despite the radicalism of the concept: " ... the music is so far more present than ever, as the erstwhile movement is assimilated by today's music. If you listen to productions by Timbaland, Björk or Madonna - the use of all these moments and we do not take even more true, they have become self-evident and risen in popular music. "


The criticism is a broad consensus in the characterization of the typical stylistic features of Raster-Noton, recurring terms are " minimal", " reduced" and "experimental", references to the genres of glitch or Clicks'n'Cuts often find themselves. Similarly, work - before - often linked connections to sciences such as physics or mathematics especially in connection with Nicolai artistic. It is also not overlook the intended correspondence between inside and outside, content and design: " Raster-Noton explored Serial, displacements and minimum interference on music level as well as in the design of their products. "

Rob Young emphasizes " Raster-Noton 's content may appear repulsive abstract at first glance, but it is not their intention, an alien, dehumanized vision to create", and says "It 's not just about the machine, but the error, the alternative and the election: the qualities that make us human. "

While Young sees affinities to Vasily Kandinsky and Oskar Fischinger, Timo Feldhaus asking whether Raster-Noton not "the thing thought to -end power plant " are. The incipient herein balancing act between art and dance floor describes the magazine intro with the words "So raster-noton migrates with its vibrant, dry -frequency data streams between the towns and worlds and is interested in art contexts, as well as for open-minded club culture. "



Grid Music

Frank Bretschneider had in 1986 co-founded the violin at the former Karl -Marx-Stadt, now Chemnitz, the band AG, an experimental electronic music group that began as pure underground band and two cassettes, self-published, published, after a few years, however, came to some success and in 1990 officially AMIGA was included in the distribution. 1988 Olaf Bender violin rose at an AG and later broke from Torsten Eckhardt to the " Electronics ". After the dissolution of the band in 1993 Bretschneider and Bender remained active together and founded in 1995, the label " raster Music".

In October 1995, appeared as the first release of the maxi-single Acid Poly Morph Basic Track of cyborg, a Berlin - Acid Techno project. 1996, followed by four CD albums ( cdr002 to cdr005 ). Although the intention " ... that we do not clearly produce for a club or a listening situation or for a gallery ... " was already formulated here clearly, let the grid Music productions stylistically the solidarity of the musicians especially with the at that time very popular minimal techno or also the Dub partly still clearly visible. Sharing with two published in early 1997 CDs ( cdr010 and cdr 011) the appearance (cover with white background, on a diamond-shaped computer graphics) and, together with the ( conceptually actually unconnected ) Kyborg - Maxi Singles ( vyr001 / vyr009 ) as " grid - series " summarized.

Noton. Archive for ton and nichtton

Among the four first releases of raster Music There was also the album Spin of Noto ( cdr003 ), Alva Noto next to one of the pseudonyms of Carsten Nicolai, also based in Chemnitz. The landscape architect and artist was already from the beginning to the environment of Grid Music and in 1994 and 1995 his own record label called " noton. archive established for sound and nichtton ", which was intended as a platform for the documentation of sound art.

Despite its long existence Noton had produced no publications in the proper sense until 1996. In 1997 published brochure "∞" there is a catalog of publications that illustrate the profile of Noton. The titles given there only appeared in small art - editions on CD- Rs with additional graphics.

With spin, however, a co-production with raster Music, Noton first appeared as a "normal " music label in appearance. Some other already published as an art editions title appeared later ( Noto, Goem, William Basinski, Noto & Ø).


The Clear series began in 1996, the phase of cooperation between the two labels. Raster Music brought especially the structures of a conventional small labels including sales by Indigo and contacts in the field of popular, although cross audacious music one. Carsten Nicolai other hand brought in addition to numerous contacts with some extreme experimental musicians especially an entirely different approach to the work of the label with: " He tore down some internal barriers with us. We then had a couple of contacts to Cologne and Leipzig, but [ ... ] that you could send the CDs to Japan, that was in our minds simply not there. "

Nicolai was invited to Documenta X in 1997 and staged there a sound installation inside a spiral parking garage driveway. On June 21, 1997, a concert took place at the opening, on the Mika Vainio, Carl Michael von Hausswolff and the three projects the operator of the now cooperating labels, Comet ( Bretschneider ), Byetone ( Bender) and Noto occurred. This " first real public presentation " of the common label is now considered the "founding myth ". Looking back, Bender stated "We were NoNames. ", Already in 1998 but he could find at an appearance at the Sonar Festival in Barcelona: "Man, who know us. An experience that is overwhelming if you do not sit in a metropolis, but tries in Chemnitz and from there to build a network. "

Fusion to raster-noton

The success of the collaboration established in 1999 to complete fusion of the previously still formally separate labels. Off Grid Music and Noton now been Raster-Noton. The label sought in the spirit of the already long-standing internationally active Nicolai reinforced the way to a worldwide audience as possible, and an independent distribution model. End of 1999, a website was launched since mid-2000, selling through its own Internet shop ran. 1999 should also be the artistically most successful year of Raster-Noton: The realized this year Series 20 'to 2000 was to prove the final breakthrough of the label.

The label is headed in the entrepreneurial sense today by Olaf Bender alone, Frank Bretschneider pulled back previously, but is still the label of private as well as a musician, engineer and producer remained connected. Carsten Nicolai, however, although is no longer involved in the daily work, but still for the label active: " Olaf Bender takes care of the office and the production, I get the external representation, it is teamwork. " In addition, includes the matter to graphic art and design in the department of Bender.



The majority of the publications of the label appears as part of series that belong together artistically and partly conceptual. Rob Young recognizes it as an attempt, " the artistic uniqueness to avoid " Susanne Bina is reminded of " the prototypical, printed with sparse information label vinyl, as you know it from the contexts of techno and house. "


Based on Noton plans published from 1996 albums by Kim Cascone, Goem, Marc Behrens, Noto and Ø Noto. Circled the content to the series practices that significantly further from the range of usual electronic music of the time led out than before. Even the choice of musicians demonstrates the greater compared to the grid - series distance to popular music ( Cascone is a graduate of Berklee College of Music, Behrens visual artist, Goem come from the experimental music). " The Clear Series raised significantly to the conceptual and experimental from which Rhythmic remained partly completely left out. "

Design theme of the series was in every respect the maximum reduction, " we wanted the music without publishing anything other than the music itself and to surrender immediately necessary. ", This corresponded to " the sound world of the labels of the aesthetics of his product design and presentation. " Visually this is already evident in the packaging: the CD cases were clear jewel case without booklet, only the most basic information found directly on the envelope printed in shape identical to the print on the one only the jewel case reflecting surface of CD. Vinyl editions were pressed into transparent vinyl and were delivered in transparent plastic bags, provided with only a small turn transparent sticker. Martin Pesch found here " today the dominant form and shape the music release of a self-reflection " subject, " in which she relates the two necessary elements CD and packaging - together and makes their sheer materiality experienced. "

The Clear - series was terminated after seven publications with the catalog number cdr014, but later with four publications between cdr032 and cdr038 as " New Clear Series " continues.


The Static- series began in late 1998 with the publication of the catalog number cdr015, Сонs "Enter tinnitus ", and was founded in 2001 by seven other publications completed with the cdr040, a collaboration between Alva Noto and Opiate. The originally announced release of Byetone ( "Ratio " ) did not appear. Three of the eight publications of the series were supplied by Russian debutants Ivan Pavlov ( Сон ), next appeared CDs, inter alia, by Taylor Deupree and Senking.

After the radical and purist Clear Series Static was also a review of the more conventional sound worlds of the grid series, a move towards the " more musical than experimental aspects ". The CDs were packaged in ziplock bags from a metal-coated anti-static film, usually with a colorful solid color inlay, "Mask of Birth" of Сон appeared in a similar design on vinyl only.

The name of the series is explained in detail in a text of the label: " objects and phenomena, commonly known as " static " are considered, frequently appear in other scales, dimensions or coordinate systems as lively processes and ways of life. " So it's the angle of view, decides on the recognition of movement or stasis.

20 'to 2000

20 'to 2000 - twelve releases about the cutting edge of the millennium. was the most successful series of Raster-Noton and the final breakthrough of the label. The idea was starting to December to bring out, in January 1999, a monthly publication of a different artist in the same design, each exactly 20 minutes. The series was referring contributions of many artists with one, going beyond the existing core group and already well known internationally were ( Elph, scanners, Wolfgang Voigt, Ester Brinkmann ). Was concluded the series with a four -hour concert in December 1999 at the Berlin Volksbühne in which all artists appeared live.

This "musical calendar, which provides in twelve CD releases an impression of the electronic music and sound research at the end of the 20th century, " was recognized by critics worldwide, received the Prix Ars Electronica in 2001 and was the first digital recordings in the collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art included. The Briton Rob Young saw in the design of the series " so far the most coherent attempt to erase the media or make them disappear. "

Grid -post

Grid - mail was a series of nine publications, numbered from 1 to 8 and a number 10, number 9 has never been released. The series was opened in May 2002 with "Temporary Music" by Mitchell Akiyama and completed in 2006 with " Patherns EP " by Сон. Grid - mail was the last time explicitly designated as such series, a conceptual substructure missing here apparently.

Other Publications

Documentation and catalogs

In addition to appearing within series publications, there have been numerous other publications. Of particular importance are books (often with CD - supplements) accompanied and boxes in which the label special events, but also its own activities and documented.

So published documentation on the event series " Taktlos Bern " ( " OACIS " catalog with CD and a CD- Box), the Leipzig exhibition "New Forms ", the Chemnitz exhibition series " World echo " or a publication called " Frequencies [Hz ] " to the exhibition and event series " frequencies [ Hz] " in the Frankfurt Schirn, whose catalog was supplemented by the box.

In addition to such compilations, there were also repeated extensive monographic work on the artistic work of Carsten Nicolai, from the narrow, 18 -page brochure from 1997 "∞" with glued Flexi Single of the 104 -page books " Polyfoto " and " Autopilot / Autorec " ( 1998 and 2002, respectively, each with audio CD ) to " fade " from 2007, a 128 -page book with accompanying DVD.

Small series and cycles

In addition to the series in the strict sense, there were also some smaller, more loosely connected episodes of publications or " mini-series ".

At the time of fusion of the label in 1999, for example, there were three very different publications " semi-official " and atypical character ( a guided reading of Yōko Tawada, a specially produced for a Nicolai exhibition in Tokyo CD and the first release of signal, the joint project Bender, Nicolai and Bretschneider ). The three publications carried the order numbers A1-A3 and were each designed differently.

Shortly before the end of raster - mail, the date last series, began a loose series of CDs that all shared the same design: A CD in a slipcase with several rectangular enclosed postcards. This quasi- series extended over five publications of Carl Michael von Hausswolff, pixels, Kangding Ray, Richard Chartier and contract in March 2007 by Senking.

In particular, in the work of Carsten Nicolai, it always came back to short series and cycles. Thus, published since 2002, two albums, a maxi CD and a live DVD from the collaboration between Alva Noto Ryuichi Sakamoto, a collaboration that proved a huge success with the critics as well as the audience and each other musically and artistically very closely related. Similarly, the three-part " Transall " cycle of Noto was also both content belonging together by the design, including one published at the end hand-bound slipcase, who recorded all three parts.

Sub-label / distribution

Raster-Noton founded in September 2001, a sub-label called " Kangaroo ", which should be out by Ilpo Väisänen, one of the two members of the duo Pan Sonic. The label was asleep but after the first two publications, two 10 " singles from Väisänen itself again.

Somewhat different is the relationship to " Wavetrap ". The label was founded by Ivan Pavlov in 1999 and it has indeed brought to 2007 to only five publications, all but of known artists in the field of noise / sound art / Clicks'n'Cuts. The label is run independently of Pavlov, but sold exclusively by Raster-Noton.

Selection Discography

Grid Series

  • Comet, "seed"
  • Noto, " Spin"

Clear series

  • Ø Noto, " micro- macro"
  • Goem, " Stud Stim "
  • Kim Cascone, " Blue Cube []"
  • Marc Behrens, "Final Ballet "
  • Noto, "Endless Loop Edition"
  • William Basinski, "Short Wave Music "

Static- series

  • Сон, "Enter tinnitus "
  • Signal, "Centrum"
  • Alva Noto Opiate, " Opto Files"
  • Mokira, " Cliphop "

20 'To 2000

  • Comet, " Manhatten / 20 'To 2000.January "
  • Ilpo Väisänen, "Untitled / 20 'To 2000.February "
  • Ryoji Ikeda, "99 (1999) :: Variations For Modulated 440Hz Sine Waves :: / 20 'To 2000.March "
  • Сон, "Into Memories Of S- Tone. For Gavin Bryars / 20 'To 2000.April "
  • Byetone, "Untitled / 20 'To 2000.May "
  • Senking, "Untitled / 20 'To 2000.June "
  • Ester Brinkmann, " | | | | |. | .... / 20 'To 2000.July "
  • Scanner, " Cystic / 20 'To 2000.August "
  • Noto, "Time .. Dot 20 'To / 2000.September "
  • Mika Vainio, "Untitled / 20 'To 2000.October "
  • Wolfgang Voigt, "20 Minuten Gas In November / 20 'To 2000.November "
  • Elph, "Twelve / 20 'To 2000.December "

Raster Post

  • Mitchell Akiyama, "Temporary Music"
  • Blir, " Untitled"
  • Сон, " Patherns Ep "


  • Noto, " Transall " ( trilogy )
  • Сон / Cosey Fanni Tutti, " Сон plays Cosey "


  • Raster-Noton and Taktlos -Berne (Ed.): raster noton.oacis - [ optics acoustics calculated is in seconds], 2000, ISBN 3-931126 -48- X
  • Ben Borthwick: Raster-Noton: The Perfect Power. Interview in: The Wire Magazine, Issue 238, December 2003, pp. 40-47, online
  • Simona Verdrame ( ed.): " Carsten Nicolai - diary # 03", Milan, tema celeste editions, 2004, online PDF; 35.23 MB)
  • Timo Feldhaus: 11 years Raster-Noton - The Physics of minimalism, in: De: Bug 117, 2007, pp. 8-10