Method to Their Moiré

I have an essay on Raster-Noton in a new Red Bull Music Academy book.


For a few months there’s been a small note in the Current Activities part of this website’s left-hand sidebar mentioning something cool due out toward the end of the year. It isn’t my Aphex Twin book for the 33 1/3 series, Selected Ambient Works Volume II. That’s due out February 13, 2014. No, this is an essay I have in a forthcoming book from Red Bull Music Academy. The book is For the Record: Conversations with People Who Have Shaped the Way We Listen to Music. As the title suggests it is a compendium of new conversations between musicians — excellent pairings (and threesomes) that highlight parallels and contrasts. I used to love assigning these sorts of things when I was a full-time music editor. I think my favorite I ever put together was, back in 1993, asking the music critic Martin Johnson to get Randy Weston and La Monte Young in a room to talk about the blues.

In addition to the conversations, For the Record features introductions to all the involved musicians, and for my part I wrote about the pair Carsten Nicolai (aka Alva Noto) and Olaf Bender, who together run the Raster-Noton record label and in the book talk shop with Uwe Schmidt (aka Atomâ„¢). It was a pleasure to spend time luxuriating in their work, which often whittles the rhythmic intent of techno down to myriad displays of patterning. In addition to discussing the Raster-Noton label, the piece covers their work individually (such as the parallels between Nicolai’s music and his Moiré Index and Grid Index design books), and their Diamond Version band, which has released music on Mute and opened on tour for Depeche Mode. The For the Record book is already out in Germany, and arrives in the U.S. in November. In early December I’ll post the text of my Nicolai/Bender piece on


Here’s a full list of the conversations in For the Record:

João Barbosa x Kalaf Ângelo x Mulatu Astatke

Bernard Purdie x Jaki Liebezeit

Martyn Ware x Nile Rodgers

Kerri Chandler x Patrick Adams

Gareth Jones x Metro Area

Carsten Nicolai x Olaf Bender x Uwe Schmidt

Benny Ill x Moritz von Oswald

Lee “Scratch”Perry x Adrian Sherwood

Matias Aguayo x Sly & Robbie

DJ Harvey x Ben UFO

Cosey Fanni Tutti x Nik Void

Modeselektor x Mykki Blanco

Erykah Badu x The Underachievers

Just Blaze x Paul Riser

Robert Henke x Tom Oberheim

The full list of essay contributors is as follows. Great company to be among:

David Katz, Philip Sherburne, Sheryl Garratt, David Stubbs, Peter Kirn, Richard Gehr, Lee Smith, Melissa Bradshaw, Derek Miller, Anthony Obst, Rich Juzwiak, Ruth Saxelby, Lloyd Bradley, Gerd Janson, Bill Brewster, John Doran, Drew Daniel, Joe Muggs, Jordan Rothlein, Will Lynch, Marc Weidenbaum, Rachel Devitt, Jeff Mao, Andrew Mason, Paul McGee, Alfred Soto, Simon Price, Phillip Mlynar, and Marisa Aveling.

And there’s video documenting the book’s design and production by Chris Rehberger’s firm, Double Standards:

More on the book For the Record: Conversations with People Who Have Shaped the Way We Listen to Music at

(Photo of — from left to right — Schmidt, Nicolai, and Bender by Dan Wilton. It appears in the book.)

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