Berlin's Uwe Zahn has been making some of the loveliest electronic
music under the Arovane moniker for the last several years. In an
ever-growing sea of Autechre and Kid 606 IDM copyists, Arovane has
remained noteworthy with gentle, restrained atmospherics and an
incredibly keen sense of melody. While other artists may overcompensate
the lack of melody with scattered glitches and faux complexity,
Zahn's songs have the ability to capture the listener's heart with
an expected sense of melancholy as well as damn fine beats.
Arovane's talent has not gone unnoticed; his busy work schedule
has included singles and compilation appearances for numerous prime
labels such as City Center Offices, Awkward Silence, Din, and Morr
Music, as well as remix services for artists such as Accelera Deck,
Mum, and Lali Puna/Bomb the bass. His first full-length, "Atoll
Scrap", was released in 2000 on Din. With deep melancholy grooves
and crispy beats, "Atol Scrap" appeared to be one of the
year's finest releases in electronic music; one only had to wait
a matter of months before Zahn outdid himself with his second full-length.
Released in May of 2000, "Tides" marries the haunting
electronics of "Atol Scrap" with organic elements such
as harpsicord and the guitar of Christian Kleine. His latest full-length
"AER (Vald)" finds him collaborating with rising IDM star
Phonem, for a return to dreamy electronica of "Atol Scrap."
When did you begin making music? Are there any artists or labels
you would credit as influences?
I started to make music in the 80's with a Casio keyboard, cassette
recorders, and microphones. I was always interested in sounds and
manipulating them, so I made a lot of field recordings with my recorder.
I didn't own a sampler, so I would manipulate the cassette recorder
to play the tape backwards, faster or slower. During this period,
I listened to Brian Eno, minimal music, and gamelan music.
How do usually begin a new song or work on your music? Are
there any programs or instruments you are particularly fond of?
Do you have your own studio?
Usually I start with a sound or sample and often improvise melodies
that inspire me to create a track. In this workflow, I reshape the
sounds, edit the functions in my hardware sequencer, like quantize
functions or the timing of patterns, and make a "premix"
version of the track. I love to work with hardware in my studio,
such as an analogue mixing desk, samplers, sequencers, effects and
synths. I like an interface with knobs and faders to control and
edit parameters spontaneously. I love the Clavia modular synth because
of it's concept: a software to program and patch sounds with a small
keyboard/ hardware with dsp's and knobs that produce the programmed
patches. I also use software like Absynth, Reaktor, and Spectral
Delay for sound design on my laptop.
Do you have any other projects besides Arovane? How did you
choose that name to go under?
Yes, Nedjev is a side project. The "Nedjev " pseudo was
inspired by a sound bank on my sampler with lot of lo-fi sounds.
You have been very prolific remixing other people's songs, such
as Bomb the Bass and Mum, which are particularly excellent. Are
there any you are currently working on or that have not been released
Thanks for the compliment! I'm working on tracks for my new album
on DIN for the next year.
There seems to be a difference in your approach to music comparing
"Atol Scrap" to "Tides". The use of field recordings
and the guitar work of Christian Kleine give the songs a very organic
feel. Was there any particular theme you were going for with "Tides"?
Is this a technique you will be using in the future?
"Tides" is special because of the acoustic instruments
I used like Christian's guitar and the harpsichord sound. I took
a vacation in France years ago and I had beautiful days at the coast.
I made some field recordings of sea birds, playing children and
sea waves. The idea was to transport this atmosphere with my music
and the "old fashioned" sound of the harpsichord. I would
like to produce music with acoustic instruments and combine it with
electronic in the future.
Have you played live much? If so, what is your live set up consist
of? Any plans to come to the US?
I played some live gigs in Paris, Manchester, Hasselt/Belgium/Pukkelpop
festival and Berlin last year, but most of the time I'm sitting
in my studio. My live set consists of pre-arranged audio files and
live effects. For the next live gig in Amsterdam in September, the
only one this year, I will use my laptop and the Clavia Nord modular.
Actually I have no plans to come to the states.
Berlin seems to be quite a hotspot for IDM music as evidenced
by the Hotel Stadt Berlin CD. Is there a genuine "scene"
as one might think?
Yes, a scene with a lot of musicians producing individual electronic
music, such as Log, Dynamo, Skanfrom, Herrman&Kleine, Artificialduckflavour,
Zorn and the labels Morrmusic, City Center Offices, Hey, DIN, Lux
Are there any artists, friends, or labels you would like to
I would like to work with Christian Kleine again in the future,
because of his relaxed attitude to produce music. We both have the
same studio equipment and it is easy to swap sounds and tracks.
It is also just five minutes by bike to visit him!