Carolina Meleán’s Everything – Warm, Sparse and a touch of Darkness

Carolina Meleán indieberlin review Everything photo

The first thing to say about Carolina Meleán is that she’s got a great voice, in the style of Sade. Her jazz schooling comes through but doesn’t stand in the way of the music – four gleaming RNB gems with spitting hihats, stuttering claps and body-shuddering beats.

The instrumentation is left deliberately sparse to leave room for the songs to shine – it’s obvious in the importance placed on the voice that Carolina is first and foremost a singer, and a very good one at that. The reference to Sade comes not only from the timbre of the voice but also from the fact that the vocal delivery is never strained or forced; is never anything other than capable and sure of itself.

Occasionally dark

With a Bolivian father, a Greek mother and a childhood in Hamburg where she grew up speaking three languages, one might guess why Carolina Meleán’s first EP is called Everything.

Distorted horn sounds and glass-shard keyboard layers giving way to a stuttering beat

Then again it could be called that because she did everything on it. As well as singing, Carolina Meleán played the instruments and produced the sparse and occasionally dark tracks too. The EP opens with Everything, distorted horn sounds and glass-shard keyboard layers giving way to a stuttering beat that acts as a contrast to the calmness of the voice, speaking of a love affair and its aftermath, layers of vocals building and abating through the story.

A culmination of vocal layers and plaintive words

Lately comes on as a slightly more conventional vocal-driven song, slow beats providing counterpoint. HeShe is heavier, with hard beats and a heavy keyboard sound pushing things along. This Game closes the four-song EP with a culmination of vocal layers and plaintive words.

A nice debut EP from a singer we’re sure to see a lot more of. I would have liked to hear more variation in both the instrumentation and the mood, but there’s plenty of emotional depth apparent here, and that makes me convinced that things are just going to keep on getting better.

Noel Maurice is one of the founders of indieberlin. Originally from the UK via a childhood in Johannesburg, he has been resident in Berlin since 1991. Describing himself as a 'recovering musician', he is the author of The Berlin Diaires, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site.

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