The opening brace of tracks, "Topas" and "T-E-L-E-G-R-A-M-M," are in reality a diptych, umbilically linked by the same "live jam" approach and a repetitive electro groove that will prick the ears of many an aging b-boy. The latter begins with a pulsing ring-tone squelch before a spitting bass synth rhythm is switched on, unlocking it for the dance floor. In contrast, "Neuschnee" is as sparse, frigid and beautifully bleak as its glacial title suggests; a subtle motorik drone percolates underneath, layered with one-note tones and what sounds uncannily like a bout of Tuvan throat singing.
But the centrepiece, literally and musically, is the slow-burning "Opal." It builds from a single oscillating note, imperceptibly building in pace towards a chattering, percussive denouement before floating back to the ground again. Placed alongside it, Symeta's weakest link, the distorted soundclash of "Helix," suffers in comparison, becoming engulfed in too much noise. Not that "Black Noise" is a tiptoe through the tulips; underpinned by rock drums and a scuzzy synth line that could easily be mimicking an electric guitar, it ends up with a nod to "Didgeridoo"-era Aphex Twin.
The album closes out with "Golden Elegy." Constructed around a head-nodding hip-hop rhythm, angry wasps swarm above, accompanied by a scuzzy dial-up modem tone. It fades out to a socialist-leaning verse by early 20th Century poet, Heinrich Siedel, who dreams about a better world (although German was far from my strong point at school). By opening out his sound, Olaf Bender may lose a few hardcore fans and pick up a bunch more with Symeta. But if any artist is going to have a sense of perspective, it's one who began his working life in pre-unification Chemnitz as an apprentice tailor. Everybody needs a change of clothes at some point.