A Way To Find The Day . Mapstation
2002. cd . lp
"A way to find the day" is the first full-length album of Mapstation and it comes along as a flamboyant soulful piece of music. While the previous release 12" "New direction" (staubgold 24) managed to raise high expectations, "A way to find the day" picks up the tension and gives way to 43 minutes of attentive and curious dynamics, rhythmic irrealities and gently warm disorder - including two stunning collaborations with reggae singer Ras Donovan.
Mapstation is the imprint of Stefan Schneider (To Rococo Rot). His music is closer to minimalist techno but brings the euphoria of the genre together with charming slow-downs of pace and bpm.
“To Rococo Rot's Stefan Schneider is ‘Mapstation’, the solo project in which the bassist focuses more on the layering of electro sounds and textures. At times minimalist in approach, this third disc continues in the direction of an interesting compositional style. The introduction of what at first appears as simple sounding ideas are subtly built upon using various rhythms, synth patches and digital found sounds until they have formed a beautiful soundscape.
Each of the disc's eleven tracks has a unique development and outcome. ‘Two Landscapes’ opens with deep and lilting synth tones which act as a percussive element while various patches drift in and out stating a general melody and motif. ‘More People Than Two’ is comprised of a lullaby-sounding repetitive keyboard with a bassline that weaves nicely into the mix of ethereal chords and distant pulses. Reggae singer Ras Donovan guests on the tracks "New Direction" (released as a 12") and "Wake Up," which could be seen as minimalist dub, maintaining the rhythmic keyboard of the style. This is definitely one for the headphones.” (Gord Fynes, Brainwashed)
In 1999 Stefan Schneider (To Rococo Rot, Kreidler) discovered the possibilities offered by the arpeggiator mode of his analogue synthesizer, directing patterns of random notes to the oscillators to create unpredictable pulses, distortions, superb disorder.
To approximate the spontaneity and chaos of real life, Schneider decided to take a step back as composer and let the machine make most of the musical decisions.
Soon, the resulting simple basslines began to seep into Stefan's occasional DJ sets - at the time mostly a blend of electronic sounds (1950's - Detroit techno) and a capella versions of reggae 12" singles - and finally turned into a complete live set.
In early 2000 the owner of notable London-based label Soul Static Sound, Darryl Moore (D), asked Stefan to record a self-titled mini album, which was released a few months later during a UK tour with Vladislav Delay. On the strength of this recording Stefan was approached by minimalist electronics label Staubgold, who later relocated from Cologne to the German capital of Berlin, and their fertile partnership lead to three consecutive albums between 2001 and 2003.
On 'A Way To Find The Day' (2002) Schneider decided to explore his take on contemporary reggae music (he considers it a form of electronic music) in a collaboration with singer Ras Donovan. Introduced by their mutual friend Bernd Jestram of Tarwater, whose studio expertise both had previously relied on, Donovan and Schneider later continued their exploration of uncharted territories with “Version Train” (2003), which featured abstractions of their previous set in the Jamaican 'versioning' tradition. Despite the fact that tracks like 'New Direction' or 'Stand me Stand' were obviously carried by Ras Donovan’s plaintive voice, Schneider never intended to compete with the genre’s Caribbean originators, but instead pursued his very own imaginary and decidedly non-authentic take on reggae music.
In late 2003, another fruitful alliance saw the light of day, triggered by a remix request by Leeds musician Meriel Barham (a former member of the Pale Saints who had already released a stunning album on Cologne-based label Karaoke Kalk as Kuchen), a request Stefan rejected in favour of a collaboration based on sending each other musical sketches on mini disc. After two years of postal exchange Meriel and Stefan finished their “Kuchen Meets Mapstation” album at the Tarwater studio in Berlin.
“Version Train” and “Kuchen Meets Mapstation” were followed by plenty of live shows and a tour all over Europe, Siberia and Algeria.) The album ‘Distance Told me Things to be Said’ was released on Scape, and contributed to the Jukebox Buddha compilation.