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Sunday, August 05, 2007

MAPS and the highly recommended "We Can Create" album - Artist of the Week!

Riddle: What is the sound of the eternal space clock when it is slowly wound, it's hands impossibly massive and unseen? Think about the climbing, echoed notching of gears as they carry off into the distance... That sound and the reference to space, time and gears is the picture painted by Maps from Northampton, UK. They have an incredibly well rounded new album, "We Can Create," - which offers a distinct and gifted addition to your music collection. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. This record has made my month.

ARTIST OF THE WEEK

from Northampton, UK, it's Maps

Think about the old Pink Floyd, about Sigur Ros and Radiohead... Dwell on Explosions in the Sky and maybe a touch of influence, somehow, from the Glaswegian school of sound... What exactly is Maps? It's the product and creativity of a single man brought to vibrant life and performed on stage. James Chapman sat in his bedroom for countless days - painstaking splicing live recordings he had made as a solo artist on an old 16-track recorder. This early recording of "We Can Create" would later be reproduced in Iceland with Valgeir Sigurdsson (Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and Bjork) and played live for stunned audiences. Pretty damn cool.


photography by Phil Bourne

The tracks on the album run the gamut from what I refer to as space and time tracks to visceral folk tunes with a modern, ironic twist. The results are not only impressive - they prove to transcend conventional music. Because the album is so different from everything else released this year so far - this record is especially stunning. Locking yourself away - like one of Darwin's creatures of evolutionary study, clearly has its benefits. (Be true to thyself, you know?) The song "Don't Fear" begins with soft organ and smoothly carries on - a song from Radiohead's "Amnesiac" or Explosions in the Sky's "All of A Sudden I Miss Everybody." The repetition of the words, "Don't Fear... the Sun." Brings in elements of the Chemical Brothers; think "Bird of Prey.." - but they are not the same. You see, the energy here is all it's own. Remarkable.


Maps will begin a US tour in September. Buy the album in stores and on itunes now. Amazon.com, which named "We Can Create" a 2007 Mercury Award winner, also offers the record. Prediction: This one will be on quite a few blogger top album lists at the end of the year.


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