|1||1||i.o. (2023 Remaster)||6:15|
|2||parf (2023 Remaster)||6:15|
|3||torn (2023 Remaster)||6:58|
|4||andar (2023 Remaster)||7:44|
|5||icol diston (2023 Remaster)||0:20|
|6||yua:e (2023 Remaster)||8:11|
|2||1||icol vern (2023 Remaster)||5:03|
|2||nacrath (2023 Remaster)||4:00|
|3||acval (2023 Remaster)||5:06|
|4||außen vor amx (2023 Remaster)||9:21|
|5||no.8 amx (2023 Remaster)||7:11|
The »Icol Diston« compilation, released in 2002 on DIN, comprised the three first EPs released by Uwe Zahn under his Arovane moniker. Following up on vinyl reissues of his path-breaking debut album »Atol Scrap« as well as 2000’s »Tides,« the German Keplar label finally makes »Icol Diston« available in its entirety on vinyl for the first time in a remastered version with new artwork. This expansive reissue sheds a new light on Zahn’s first two outings as a producer on the »I.O.« and »Icol Diston« EPs on Torsten ›T++‹ Pröfrock’s legendary label as well as highlighting his radical inventiveness as a remixer with the two renditions of Pröfrock-produced material offered on »AMX.« Taken together, these musically complex and emotionally rich electronic compositions form the prologue to an artistic story like none other while also documenting a very specific era in cultural history.
The energy running through Berlin and its boundaryless electronic music scene at the end of the 1990s is reflected by and refined through these eleven tracks. »There was an overwhelming dynamic of liberation reverberating through the city—through the clubs, the arts, the people,« says Zahn today. At this early stage in his career, he had a head full of ideas and slowly started filling up his studio with samplers, synthesizers, and sequencers to put them into practice. »I would compose percussive structures in my mind during long metro rides and record them once I was back at the studio as well as composing melodies spontaneously on my sequencer.« The Yamaha QY700 would become his sketchbook that allowed him to experiment with different patterns, creating polymetric figures out of discrete musical elements.
Zahn’s sessions, recorded live in stereo and straight to DAT, resulted in two very different EPs of original material. His debut »I.O.« showcases a playful and gentle, albeit dubby and at times moody aesthetic. The four tracks are exercises in sonic worldbuilding, creating vast spaces and filling them with a plethora of intertwining melodies and rhythms. Its successor »Icol Diston« drew on similar parameters, but painted a very different picture in terms of atmosphere and mood. »Berlin’s history felt still so tangible and yet somewhat ghostly during the 1990s, and it is a reflection of all that,« explains Zahn. »The weight of its past, starting with World War II up to the end of the GDR, clashed with an atmosphere of departure, a new zest for life among the people in the city.« It is perhaps no surprise then that the five tracks put a firmer focus on beats, at times even approximating techno or electro grooves despite never eschewing the complexity that is so central to Zahn’s work.
The »AMX« EP features two remixes of tracks originally produced by Pröfrock under two different guises. »Außen vor« had been released under his Dynamo moniker and was reworked by Zahn after having been introduced to his label owner’s Studio 440 sampler, sequencer and drum machine. By leaving the groove at the core of the original track mostly intact but infusing it with more dub as well as anthemic synth drones, Zahn gave it more depth both sonically and emotionally. With his remix of »No. 8,« released under Pröfrock’s tongue-in-cheek pseudonym Various Artists, Zahn followed a more radical approach which led him even deeper into dub territory. »I used a relatively short sample as the tonal foundation and then added an incredibly deep bass and percussive elements,« he explains. Widely different from the original version, it perfectly translated the spirit of this singular masterpiece into another stylistic idiom.
The »Icol Diston« compilation is imbued with a forward-thinking spirit that remains exhilarating until today. It captures the sound of one unique artist, but also electronic music during that time more broadly. This is the sound of opening a new chapter, the willingness to venture into the unknown.
All tracks composed and recorded by Uwe Zahn in 1998/99.
D1 is a remix based on the track by Dynamo. D2 is a remix based on the track by Various Artists.
Originally released on three 12inches by DIN in 1998/99 and on CD in 2002.
Remaster and cut by Kassian Troyer @ D&M.
Cover art by Jim Kühnel based on a photograph by Uwe Zahn.
Text by Kristoffer Cornils.