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Electronic - Released June 19, 2020 | Mute

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Electronic - Released August 25, 2014 | Mute

Considering that there have been more than a few changes in James Chapman's music since We Can Create, the electro-shoegaze of his debut album as Maps, his third album, Vicissitude, is aptly named. Chapman ramped up his ambition on 2009's intricate, conceptual Turning the Mind, almost to the point where he seemed trapped in those songs' inner workings. Here, things are much more streamlined, whether on the sparkling single "A.M.A." -- which serves as a potent reminder that Chapman's music owes as much or more to New Order as it does to My Bloody Valentine -- or the title track's looping arrangement, which continues the more overtly electronic trend in his work. Much like his Mute labelmate Junip, Maps excels at songs that are thoughtful and stealthily catchy, and Vicissitude boasts some of Chapman's clearest-eyed songwriting yet. As on Turning the Mind, mental and emotional states are of paramount importance, but now Chapman seems more grounded in dealing with life's vicissitudes. He sounds equally comfortable singing the praises of enduring things on "Built to Last" as he does accepting loss on "Left Behind," and there's a uniquely reassuring quality to songs like "You Will Find a Way" and "This Summer," where Chapman repeats the chorus "forgive yourself" like a mantra. The dreamy fog of Maps' first two albums resurfaces on "Nicholas" and "Adjusted to the Darkness," which rivals Spiritualized's finest moments in its mix of vulnerability and majesty. However, even Vicissitude's most expansive tracks aren't pushy, and in its own subtle way the album delivers on the promise and intentions of Turning the Mind. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Electronic - Released August 25, 2014 | Mute

Crafting a spun-sugar fusion of electronic music, symphonic indie, and dream pop from the confines of his bedroom and a 16-track tape recorder, James Chapman is the one-man band known as Maps. On his debut album, We Can Create, Chapman displays a flair for widescreen arrangements that would normally sound more at home in an orchestra hall than a bedroom, particularly on the soaring "You Don't Know Her Name," which updates the sweetly sleepy vocals and skyward guitars of classic shoegaze with gurgling synths that recall Boards of Canada. Likewise, We Can Create's best moments pair melodies that feel familiar with arrangements that add just the right amount of strangeness: "Liquid Sugar"'s melody makes it feel like a lost track from Loveless, but its delicate strings and synth washes are gentler and more unexpected than yet another homage to My Bloody Valentine's guitar maelstroms. Maps' hybrid of dreamy rock and atmospheric electronic music isn't particularly original; shades of everyone from Boces-era Mercury Rev and Chapterhouse to Dntel, M83, Ulrich Schnauss, and especially Spiritualized pop up on We Can Create (later tracks such as the epic "Lost My Soul" and "Don't Fear" give the impression of coming from a pixilated Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space). However, while Chapman may not take his influences in radical directions, his own spin on these sounds is accessible and appealing. We Can Create will appeal to anyone who enjoys dream pop in any of its past or present incarnations. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Electronic - Released August 25, 2014 | Mute

The sonic cathedrals on Maps' debut We Can Create suggested that James Chapman had ambition to burn, but the deeply conceptual and personal nature of his follow-up, Turning the Mind, confirms it. From its title onward, Maps' second album is inspired by the cognitive therapy method Mindfulness, which uses the acceptance of reality to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. It's also influenced, so to speak, by the effects chemicals can have on the brain to good or ill effect. Chapman explores how drugs and therapy can help or hurt, how they can be crutches or bridges, over the course of Turning the Mind's mood swings, which certainly sound chemically altered. Working with Death in Vegas' Tim Holmes as his producer, Chapman opts for a more overtly electronic sound as he charts emotional peaks and valleys. To his credit, Chapman mixes his signals a bit, couching pissed-off lyrics like "I Dream of Crystal"'s "get the fuck off my case" in billowing clouds of synths. And even though the fittingly named "Nothing" -- which is so dark and whispery, it sounds like the echo of a song -- and the blissful "Valium in the Sunshine" are more predictable choices, they still work. Turning the Mind provides Chapman with a springboard to try new things. "Let Go of the Fear," a collaboration with Berlin-based producer Oliver Huntemann, channels the euphoric energy of Chapman's work into a four-on-the-floor workout. "Die Happy Die Smiling" is even more radical, pairing the most forceful beat ever to appear on a Maps song with streaking synths. Chapman even strips down Maps' usually lush layers on the urgent "Papercuts," and to a lesser extent, on "Everything is Shattering," which makes New Order's influence on his work crystal clear. At times, Chapman seems in danger of being too earnest or letting his ambitions get the better of him, but Turning the Mind ends up being a significant step forward for Maps' music. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Electronic - Released August 21, 2020 | Mute

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Classical - Released August 2, 2019 | Mute

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Electronic - Released May 30, 2019 | Mute

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Electronic - Released March 28, 2019 | Mute

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Electronic - Released July 8, 2013 | Mute

Considering that there have been more than a few changes in James Chapman's music since We Can Create, the electro-shoegaze of his debut album as Maps, his third album, Vicissitude, is aptly named. Chapman ramped up his ambition on 2009's intricate, conceptual Turning the Mind, almost to the point where he seemed trapped in those songs' inner workings. Here, things are much more streamlined, whether on the sparkling single "A.M.A." -- which serves as a potent reminder that Chapman's music owes as much or more to New Order as it does to My Bloody Valentine -- or the title track's looping arrangement, which continues the more overtly electronic trend in his work. Much like his Mute labelmate Junip, Maps excels at songs that are thoughtful and stealthily catchy, and Vicissitude boasts some of Chapman's clearest-eyed songwriting yet. As on Turning the Mind, mental and emotional states are of paramount importance, but now Chapman seems more grounded in dealing with life's vicissitudes. He sounds equally comfortable singing the praises of enduring things on "Built to Last" as he does accepting loss on "Left Behind," and there's a uniquely reassuring quality to songs like "You Will Find a Way" and "This Summer," where Chapman repeats the chorus "forgive yourself" like a mantra. The dreamy fog of Maps' first two albums resurfaces on "Nicholas" and "Adjusted to the Darkness," which rivals Spiritualized's finest moments in its mix of vulnerability and majesty. However, even Vicissitude's most expansive tracks aren't pushy, and in its own subtle way the album delivers on the promise and intentions of Turning the Mind. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Electronic - Released March 1, 2014 | Mute

Crafting a spun-sugar fusion of electronic music, symphonic indie, and dream pop from the confines of his bedroom and a 16-track tape recorder, James Chapman is the one-man band known as Maps. On his debut album, We Can Create, Chapman displays a flair for widescreen arrangements that would normally sound more at home in an orchestra hall than a bedroom, particularly on the soaring "You Don't Know Her Name," which updates the sweetly sleepy vocals and skyward guitars of classic shoegaze with gurgling synths that recall Boards of Canada. Likewise, We Can Create's best moments pair melodies that feel familiar with arrangements that add just the right amount of strangeness: "Liquid Sugar"'s melody makes it feel like a lost track from Loveless, but its delicate strings and synth washes are gentler and more unexpected than yet another homage to My Bloody Valentine's guitar maelstroms. Maps' hybrid of dreamy rock and atmospheric electronic music isn't particularly original; shades of everyone from Boces-era Mercury Rev and Chapterhouse to Dntel, M83, Ulrich Schnauss, and especially Spiritualized pop up on We Can Create (later tracks such as the epic "Lost My Soul" and "Don't Fear" give the impression of coming from a pixilated Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space). However, while Chapman may not take his influences in radical directions, his own spin on these sounds is accessible and appealing. We Can Create will appeal to anyone who enjoys dream pop in any of its past or present incarnations. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Electronic - Released September 15, 2009 | Mute

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Electronic - Released March 1, 2014 | Mute

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Electronic - Released March 1, 2014 | Mute

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Electronic - Released January 12, 2010 | Mute

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Electronic - Released May 19, 2009 | Mute

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Electronic - Released September 15, 2009 | Mute

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Electronic - Released March 1, 2014 | Mute

The sonic cathedrals on Maps' debut We Can Create suggested that James Chapman had ambition to burn, but the deeply conceptual and personal nature of his follow-up, Turning the Mind, confirms it. From its title onward, Maps' second album is inspired by the cognitive therapy method Mindfulness, which uses the acceptance of reality to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. It's also influenced, so to speak, by the effects chemicals can have on the brain to good or ill effect. Chapman explores how drugs and therapy can help or hurt, how they can be crutches or bridges, over the course of Turning the Mind's mood swings, which certainly sound chemically altered. Working with Death in Vegas' Tim Holmes as his producer, Chapman opts for a more overtly electronic sound as he charts emotional peaks and valleys. To his credit, Chapman mixes his signals a bit, couching pissed-off lyrics like "I Dream of Crystal"'s "get the fuck off my case" in billowing clouds of synths. And even though the fittingly named "Nothing" -- which is so dark and whispery, it sounds like the echo of a song -- and the blissful "Valium in the Sunshine" are more predictable choices, they still work. Turning the Mind provides Chapman with a springboard to try new things. "Let Go of the Fear," a collaboration with Berlin-based producer Oliver Huntemann, channels the euphoric energy of Chapman's work into a four-on-the-floor workout. "Die Happy Die Smiling" is even more radical, pairing the most forceful beat ever to appear on a Maps song with streaking synths. Chapman even strips down Maps' usually lush layers on the urgent "Papercuts," and to a lesser extent, on "Everything is Shattering," which makes New Order's influence on his work crystal clear. At times, Chapman seems in danger of being too earnest or letting his ambitions get the better of him, but Turning the Mind ends up being a significant step forward for Maps' music. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Electronic - Released March 1, 2014 | Mute

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Electronic - Released March 1, 2014 | Mute

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Electronic - Released March 1, 2014 | Mute