Olaf Bender (born 1968, Germany) began experimental film work on 16mm movie equipment whilst still in school. An intensive engagement with the medium and raw material of film had begun. Technical limitations forced special methods such as scratching directly onto the footage with objects to create geometrical figures. As a consequence of his experiments he came into contact with the East-German underground band AG-GEIGE, whom he became a permanent member of in 1988. Though home computers made it possible for autodidacts like him to work multimedially without knowledge of practical musical skills, his work with the group allowed him to develop the musical aspect of his art.
After the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 his experiences working with a music distributor led to the idea of publishing his own musical projects. He and Frank Bretschneider founded the record label Rastermusic in 1996. Rastermusic was established to publish their own electronic music projects and those of other similar artists. From the outset special emphasis was placed on a strong link between the musical aesthetic and the graphical representation of the label and its products. One of the earliest Rastermusic productions was the Signal project, which Bender, Bretschneider and Carsten Nicolai continue to collaborate on. Nicolai owned the sublabel Noton, which finally merged with Rastermusic to form Raster-Noton in 1999.
Beside the management of Raster-Noton, Olaf Bender is responsible for the graphic design and public appearance of the label and its products.
Bender creates his music digitally. He assembles sine tones to build complex sound fabrics and uses digital clicks and effect plug-ins to create rhythms. Each track is born into an artificial world without any physical effort and visuals are employed in the sense of animated light. Abstract animations support the abstract pieces of music - in this way the rhythm of the music is transformed into a graphic equivalent. By using the computer Bender controls the animations in realtime; in combination with sound processing this enables him to interact with his audio-visual material live on stage.
"Whenever I use a computer, it doesn't matter in what field, typography or sound creation, I work with symmetries, proportions and modular structures. When I create music the whole thing is pretty abstract. I don't use any samplings. I get my ideas from each field of life. I like to collect older things, things that had been used already. I often get my inspirations from these items."
"We are especially interested in the abstract scientific process of production and we try to use these processes and their certain aesthetics. Sound in the physical sense means energy, acoustics and oscillations - and this oscillating is the connection between sound and other forms of energy such as light."