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 yet?

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 Nigra, scape …

Are there any artists, friends, or labels you would like to work with?

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!

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

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