Byetone is the music production alias of visual artist, graphic designer, and Raster co-founder Olaf Bender. Live, Byetone employs abstract animations to accompany his minimalist, rock-inspired compositions.
Bender’s creative output began with film, finding raw and disused material while in school in his hometown of Chemnitz. Through his experimentations, which included etching onto film stock to create motion patterns, he began working with East German outfit AG Geige and became a permanent member in 1988. Whilst working with the band, he came across computer music making which helped him bypass traditional music training in his creative progression.
In 1989, Bender began working in music distribution after the reunification of Germany, founding Rastermusic in 1996 with Frank Bretschneider. Three years later, Rastermusic merged with Carsten Nicolai’s Noton sublabel to form the legendary Raster-Noton imprint, with Bender taking lead on its visual output and graphic design.
Bender’s productions as Byetone assemble sine tones with complex textures to create propulsive rhythmic structures. His first release, Plastic Star, in 2008 defined his signature sound, creating heavy electro with little processing and effect manipulations to explore basic elements. Stylistically, it was inspired by the archaic and rebellious attitude of rock music and the modernist tradition of Bauhaus. Byetone released the acclaimed Death of a Typographer in the same year and then Symeta in 2011 on Raster-Noton.
Byetone’s live performances unify his musical and visual output; by creating spectacular animations of moving graphics and synesthetic light, Bender makes immersive club environments based on computer generated abstractions.