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roedelius / schneider - Stunden
**Includes digital download code redeemable from the label** Here's a collaboration that should prick everyone's ears up; Cluster maestro Hans-Joachim Roedelius and To Rococo Rot's Stefan Schneider. 'Stunden' is billed as a meeting of Kraut rock old and new, and I can hardly dispute that. While I've never really thought of To Rococo Rot as Kraut rock (they rock very quietly, after all) it makes sense - and this meeting of old and new is at the heart of 'Stunden'. Unsurprisingly Roedelius is on piano here, and his signature absorbing twinkles are fleshed out and underpinned by Schneider, who expertly blankets them in swathes of electronics. Schneider's treatments are the perfect partner to Roedelius's gentle melodies, and the resulting sound will no doubt please fans of both camps. The graceful shimmer of To Rococo Rot's phenomenal breakthrough album 'The Amateur View' is expertly combined with Roedelius's more structured output (think 'Tracks and Traces') resulting in a record easily more arresting than either musician's output for some time. Schneider's inexplicable talent for making rhythms out of almost anything (an intake of breath, a roomy shuffle) gives what, in the wrong hands could have been meandering, a subtle rhythmic push, and Roedelius's piano work has rarely been framed and accented more perfectly. 'Stunden' is a surprising record, not surprising from the sounds the collaborators come up with, but surprising in just how well these sounds blend together. Let's hope the collaboration isn't just a one off. A huge recommendation.