Artist and label may be familiar to listeners and each other, but Miniaturen is something new, not just short pieces of music, as the title indicates, but small things that come, literally, from between the cracks of other music and other albums. As Uwe Zahn, aka Arovane, tells it, it’s not just a collection of short tracks, but “snapshots, gems,” that “lived for a while” on his computer.
Zahn explains that each track originally “did not fit into any album format. I always thought of using them as transitions between longer pieces.” That was until recently, when Zahn saw how many ideas had accumulated, and worked with Puremagnetik to release this collection as an album.
The format, then, is the idea of transitions, sparkling moments that are pauses between larger events, between one activity or another, one still moment to the next. What unifies them is a luminous modesty, shining breaths of music that sparkle and then dissolve. Released on two different physical formats as well as digital, the formats have differing track lists, detailed below—physical limits define these, but the feel is of the same transitions leading to differing states and experiences.
Miniaturen captures Zahn’s moments in the studio, when he likes “to improvise with instrumental sounds, this is how these miniatures are created; influenced by my mood, the choice of sounds, the instrument.” Most of these were made with a single instrument, including the una corda piano—its rounded resonance heard on the first track, “Insich”—or a single synthesizer sound, or a piece of field recordings. Zahn simply played and captured the result, and points out that the results are “hands on,” straight into a DAW. “Thin Lines,” which he describes as “one of my favorite tracks,” was made by running asynchronous loops and improvising over them on the keyboard.
All this is beautifully recorded, with almost no post-processing or editing. The tones and shapes have a weight and substance that comes from the purity of the moment, the lack of “fuss,” as Zahn calls it; a first-thought-best-thought freshness. This basic simplicity of means, and modesty of aims, is true minimalism; as Zahn points out, “the focus on one idea, the beauty of a single tone, created without a specific idea or concept behind them, short, self-contained, music box-like pieces.” Inside those boxes, a kaleidoscope of gems.
released April 14, 2023
“I have never written a note I didn't mean.”
― Erik Satie
Music by Arovane
Mastered by Taylor Deupree at 12k
Artwork by John Whitlock
So ephemeral it makes ghosts seem like cinderblocks. Shifting dunes, meandering soundscapes, plaintive undertones. What the Northern Lights sing when nobody's watching. The soundtrack to a stop-motion film of the growth of a crystal. Like but also unlike Eno, Oval, Kloob and Jon Hopkins Otis Nugatory
It's a great exercise to see what a piece of software ( in this case, the 'small winters' plug-in ) .... It shows how something so readily available to everyone can shine in the hands of a master....ss/am editions vaché