Maps – Turning the Mind

February 18th, 2010 by Ryan Nisley

Maps, the singular identity of James Chapman, release a mysterious flow of electronica into your head like a dark fairytale.  Chapman’s voice slides through your ears and into your head like a melodic whisper.  His voice is nowhere and everywhere at once.  Most of the songs start with him singing with a calm electronic melody behind him, until it opens up with echoing vocal harmonies and shimmering sounds that generate “Turning the Mind.”  This CD is interesting because each song seems to open up near the end of the track, which leaves you wanting more.

I think the best track on this CD is “Everything is Shattering.”  It has a memorable melody that lingered in my head after I listened to the album.  The time period during which the album was written – during James’ recovery from addiction – is echoed in the particularly strong tension between the happy melodies and the sad lyrics.  In the booklet included with the CD he thanks everyone who helped him become sober.  It is no surprise that the album is laced with depressing thoughts.  But this quality helps the listener become immersed in Chapman’s music and life.  When I started listening to the album I was unsure if the songs could amount to anything substantial because of his raspy voice.  These thoughts subsided when the first track, “Turning the Mind,” opened up and revealed what I knew I would experience with the rest of the album.  This CD made me more aware of the kinds of electronica out there, and I discovered that not all electronica is dance based.  Chapman’s music is more of an Indie/electronica that calms the soul.  I enjoyed this album and I would recommend it to anyone who listens to electronica or Indie music.  James Chapman is the cartographer of his own electronic world.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

Download on Maps - Turning the Mind

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