Frank Bretschneider is a musician, composer and video artist in Berlin. His work is known for precise sound placement, complex, interwoven rhythm structures and its minimal, flowing approach. Bretschneider’s subtle and detailed music is echoed by his visuals: perfect translated realizations of the qualities found in music within visual phenomena.
Bretschneider (1956) was raised in Karl-Marx-Stadt (Chemnitz since 1990), where his aesthetic developed as he listened to pirate radio and smuggled Beastie Boys tapes in the former East Germany. After studying fine arts and inspired by science fiction radio plays and films he began experimenting with tape machines, synthesizers, and modified guitars in 1984, as well as exploring the possibilities of exchange between visual art and music by various means such as film, video and computer graphics.
In 1986, after establishing his cassette label klangFarBe, Bretschneider founded AG Geige, a successful and influential East German underground band. Though limited to the East before the wall came down, they were invited to perform across Germany and internationally after 1989 and released three albums before splitting in 1993.
In 1995, Bretschneider and fellow AG Geige member Olaf Bender founded the Rastermusic record label which eventually merged with Carsten Nicolai’s noton to form raster-noton in 1999.
Most of Bretschneider’s early solo albums – about half a dozen – were under the alias Komet, the first, SAAT, appearing in 1996. Since then Bretschneider has released his work (in addition to raster noton) on various labels including 12k, Line, Mille Plateaux or Shitkatapult, and contributed to some well-known compilations like CLICKS & CUTS on Mille Plateaux and raster-noton’s 20′ TO 2000 series. 2001’s CURVE, his second album for Mille Plateaux, was critically acclaimed and brought Bretschneider international attention. Followed 2003 by GOLD, raster-noton’s most blatantly pop album by then. GOLD, however, was topped by the percussive masterpiece released in late 2007, RHYTHM, an album that was rated very highly by several major electronic music publications, notably »The Wire« magazine, who put the album among their top releases of 2007. 2010 saw the release of EXP, a rather complex and abstract audio-visual work and his 2012 album KIPPSCHWINGUNGEN explores the sound of the Subharchord, a unique electronic instrument based on subharmonic sound generation. SUPER.TRIGGER, his 2013 album for raster-noton, is an absolute trove of percussive tension. And SINN + FORM, is all about improvisation and analog modular synth chaos. Bretschneider’s newest Album SWEET WATER POOLS was released in July 2019 via Longform Editions. In March 2022 his duo project with Jan Jelinek, Beispiel, released the album “Muster” on Jelinek’s label Faitiche.
Audio / Video
15 questions | Interview | Frank Bretschneider | A Cookbook is not a Novella
“There are definitely a few things that are typical for me, which can also be found in my music: a certain minimalism and pragmatism, a tendency towards the playful, occasionally a sense of irony and nonsense.”
Frank Bretschneider’s sprawling experimental discography conveys a lifelong fascination with sound design, but every so often his love of rhythm comes to the fore. Take 2007’s aptly titled LP, Rhythm, or, more recently, Super.Trigger, which saw the Raster-Noton cofounder turn his hand to gnarly glitchtronica. If the preview EP for his forthcoming full-length, Lunik, is anything to go on, the new album also sits in this tougher, more accessible style.
… Hier spricht Techno, durch einen alternden, aber wie es scheint alerten Körper. In stets minimalen, aber diversen Stücken erinnert sich Bretschneider an verschiedene Zustände und Epochen. Jeder Track endet mit einem scharfen deutschen k: so wie Kraftwerk im Namen anfangen und aufhören und als gesamtdeutsches Klischee von Technik auf der anderen Seite des Atlantiks gefeiert werden. Elektrik, Numerik, Logik, Kinetik. …
… Aż trudno uwierzyć, że ten niemiecki producent tworzy od 1983 roku. Mieszkał wtedy w komunistycznym raju – w Karl-Marx-Stadt (dzisiaj Chemnitz) na terenie Niemieckiej Republiki Demokratycznej. Mimo, że tajna policja STASI skutecznie tłumiła tam wszelkie przejawy fascynacji „zgniłym Zachodem”, on uruchomił wytwórnię Klangfarbe i jej nakładem wydawał i dystrybuował kasety magnetofonowe. Znajdowały się na nich nagrania zarówno jego samego, jak i tworzonych przezeń z kolegami zespołów – AG Geige, Kriminelle Tanzkapelle czy Stein Im Brett. Była to eksperymentalna i minimalistyczna elektronika natchniona duchem Der Plan i The Residents. …