Raster-Noton Gems, with Alva Noto, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Emptyset, Aoki Takamasa [Videos]

What’s remarkable about German music label Raster-Noton is not simply its staying power. Rather, it’s the way the aesthetic direction of the label, across visual and sonic media, has remained on course — and how that vision is just as relevant today. The label, founded in the far southeastern German town of Chemnitz by Carsten Nicolai und Olaf Bender, has a stable of artists united by a sense of common interests. That aesthetic is often visual as well as musical; you get the impression that the music is designed as much as produced. Carsten Nicolai, for his part, has become …

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Music for Vending Machines: Alva Noto, Anne-James Chaton

The imagination of Carsten Nicolai, aka Alva Noto, is a special place. No matter how minimal, there’s always a subtlety to his beats. No matter how dry, there’s pleasure somewhere in the sounds. A love for technology, mundane and otherwise, is something of a cliche in electronic music, but Nicolai manages to throw himself into his work with such infectious enthusiasm that it remains fresh. And his love for electronics can spread even to vending machines. I have to admit when I first heard this track, I almost had to laugh at the stream of numbers. But, the more your …

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