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raster noton showcase / the drake, toronto / june 26

It's a rare event when someone of the caliber of Frank Bretschneider rolls into town. When it comes to organizing electronic music events that aren't of the mainstream club variety, Toronto seems a bit misguided next to towns like Montreal ( i.e. compare Toronto's Beats, Breaks, and Culture festival to Mutek). And it was from Montreal that Bretschneider and the Raster-Noton crew came to play a half capacity Drake Underground for a measly seven dollar cover. Maybe my reality is a bit skewed, but these guys are huge and could easily ask for twice that in any city other than Toronto. Anyway, enough ranting. Toronto native, Sans Soleil, opened the show with a very clean ambient sound that slowly progressed into an amazing rhythmic affair. Accompanied by visuals from Additv, Sans Soleil not only set the tone for the rest of the night, but demonstrated the remarkable talent that exists around here (so why can't we have more shows like this?!). Senking was up next and after hearing his recent release on Raster-Noton I was excited to hear him on the Drake PA, but due to technical difficulties his set never happened so Frank Bretschneider stepped up. Bretschneider's set was very different from previous material that I've heard. In recent years he seems to have been drifting towards a more subdued sound with a focus on ambient drones (I'm thinking of his 12k stuff) but the tracks he was playing were heavy on the 808, which I assume are off his recent Raster-Noton release entitled "Rhythm". His set had the standard clicky feel that was all the rage back in the days of Mille Plateaux, but considering this guy is one of the progenitors of that style it was pretty hot. After the set I was ready to leave for home, satisfied with what I heard, when Olaf Bender mysteriously appeared on stage. Since the flyer only listed Sans Soleil, Senking and Bretschneider, I assumed the show was over. I've heard Bender play before as Byetone about two years ago and I was excited to hear some new material and what transpired on this night is really beyond words. From what I understand, Bender was mixing Signal tracks, which is a collaboration between Brentschneider, Bender, and Alva Noto, that were synced to some of the most phenomenal visuals I have every witnessed - very minimal, very monochromatic and very Raster-Noton. This set was the hardest and meanest techno that I've heard in a very long time and I hope to hear a lot more of it in the future. It left me mesmerized from beginning to end and put to shame everything that I saw at Mutek the month before.
*thanks to my friend BK for the review.

sans soleil


frank bretschneider

olaf bender

luciano / fourges et sabres / perlon

va / shut up and dance! / ostgut