Boomkat Product Review:
One and a half years ago, Meriel Barham from Leeds released her debut album "Kids With Sticks" as Kuchen on Karaoke Kalk. "Kuchen meets Mapstation" now follows the second release by meriel, former member of the Pale Saints; though this time, as the title reveals, it's a joint project with Stefan Schneider from Dusseldorf, the person behind the Mapstation project and also a key member of To Rococo Rot. Two people, two musicians, meet; each of them bringing their own idea of music and together merging these into a whole. The result is the album at hand, which took two years to realize - and you can hear the amount of work that's gone into it. They finished it together in Berlin this year, after working sometimes apart and sometimes at different times. Its ten tracks represent a very personal dialogue between two individuals whose ideas connect and who seem to like each other - even when disagreeing. 'Rosso Pieno' has that essence of Badalmenti which seem to stop the very time. Kuchen's more playful music connects seamlessly with Mapstation's more serial sound - the pointillist details and reduced nature of 'Kmm' finding itself lifted with Meriel's smoky, lustrous vocal - yet distinctive qualities of each remain equal in the listener's foreground without challenging or levelling the others evident contribution. The jaunty melody of 'St Tropez' is balanced with the robust, fizzing bottom end of 'Bound' - 'Rebound' focusses on the warm pipes and acoustic guitar moments, adorable stuff. The album ends with 'Felt piece' - an ethereal opening ushers in again acoustic strings and washes of keys, never urgent - just perfectly paced. Rarely are collaborative projects so successful - and here's something private, but communicative and genuinely special. Highly Recommended.