Arovane: Ve Palor (n5md)
Uwe Zahn disappeared from the music landscape after the release of his fan-adored third solo album Lilies in 2004. Thankfully n5md has provided an appropriate home for his long overdue follow-up. Zahn’s music has traditionally shifted shape, veering from the angular, post-Autechre melodies and glitchy rhythms of Atol Scrap to the sublime downtempo of Tides. Ve Palor definitely leans toward the former more than the latter, and despite nearly ten years’ pause between release dates, the music picks up right where he left off.
Ve Palor is entirely instrumental, focused largely around the flanged, buzzing rhythm section that characterized much of Atol Scrap (incidentally, some of my favorite Arovane material from his backcatalogue). Despite all the machine-like whirs and sputters of his beat-making, Zahn’s music continues to exude a dreamlike, floating quality. This is largely due to his expressive use of floating pads and spry melodic leads, very much harking back to what I often refer to as the Golden Age of IDM (turn of the century or so).
It is that ethereal and melodic sensibility that weaves in and out of Ve Palor’s numerous tracks (including digital bonus tracks, there are 15 totalling over 80 minutes) that makes the album flow like one cohesive, long idea rather than discrete pieces. There aren’t necessarily hooks here at all, but rather intricately assembled grooves and phrases and patterns that add up to an elaborate sprawl.
There are still standouts, although it’s all minimally relative; “Deev”’s stark bassline and glowering pads push it a hair above the rest to me, while “Cleiy”’s sputtering syncopation complements Zahn’s signature plucky melodies especially handsomely. While Ve Palor is not a re-invention for Arovane, it’s yet another nice entry into his repertoire, showing off his strengths in abundance.