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Alternative & Indie - Released May 10, 2019 | Mute

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Electronic/Dance - Released May 22, 2020 | Mute

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Electronic/Dance - 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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Alternative & Indie - Released February 12, 2019 | Mute

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Pop - Released January 10, 2020 | Maps

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Electronic/Dance - 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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Alternative & Indie - Released February 28, 2019 | Mute

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House - Released January 25, 2019 | Instrumental Connect

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released December 14, 2018 | Maps

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Electronic/Dance - Released August 19, 2014 | Mute

Featuring reworkings of some of Maps' finest moments by a host of respected acts, Realigned almost feels like a greatest-hits album and remix collection in one. Arranged in chronological order, the collection gets off to a strong start with M83's version of "To the Sky" from 2007's We Can Create, which takes the sonic cathedrals of James Chapman's original to a higher -- and more literal -- level with angelic harmonies and organs that build gradually and gracefully. While it's a little more restrained than, say, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, the track's massive sweep is unmistakably M83. As Realigned unfolds, it lends additional perspectives to Maps' ever-changing balance of shoegaze and electronic elements: Eule's Balearic-tinged remix of Turning the Mind's "A.M.A." and Free School's percolating version of "Built to Last" reflect the more danceable direction Chapman's music embraced over the years. Meanwhile, Andy Stott's hard-hitting yet ethereal take on "I Heard Them Say" tempers driving beats with distant vocals and the Field's version of "You Don't Know Her Name" is a woozy electro-dream pop confection of epic proportions. Remixes by Mock & Toof, Oliver Huntemann, Paul Woolford, and others round out a collection Maps fans will be glad to have. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Electronic/Dance - Released March 1, 2014 | Mute

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 15, 2018 | Maps

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released December 15, 2017 | Mario Alberto Paez

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released October 1, 2018 | Instrumental Connect

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House - Released September 1, 2017 | Maps

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released April 27, 2017 | Maps

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Pop - Released September 1, 2019 | Instrumental Connect

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released March 19, 2020 | Octiive

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Pop - Released August 20, 2011 | Maps

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Rock - Released September 29, 2010 | Maps