Left Ear Records have profiled the third and final iteration of elusive West Berlin band I.A.O. with a 16-track retrospective.

Written between 1988 and 1995, all tracks compiled by the Melbourne label were recorded during turbulent times in the German capital. The fall of the Berlin Wall galvanised the city’s youth to build new bridges between East and West through counterculture, and the band cite many of the individuals encountered around that time as their inspiration. A reunified Berlin is the common thread running through this collection: Achim Kohlberger, who fronted that era of I.A.O. alongside Ralf Östereich and Carsten Zielske, was busy co-founding ‘Atonal Festival’ and ‘UFO’ around the same time – these later evolved into Berlin Atonal and Tresor, two veritable Berlin institutions that remain relevant to this day.

Those events saw a proliferation of counterculture movements, and Phase III’s distillation of synth-pop, downtempo and experimental electronics is indicative of what quickly became fertile ground for creative expression and innovation.

Phase III is out January 24th on Left Ear Records – pre-order here

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