Maps is the moniker of James Chapman, a Northampton, U.K. sound artist with a penchant for music that is highly emotive, melody-driven, and expansive. His 2007 debut, We Can Create, was described as a “joyous bedroom symphony” and nominated for that year’s Mercury Prize.
Maps’ latest LP is also his most collaborative, featuring guest vocalists, live drums and percussion, and six-piece classical ensemble, the Echo Collective. When the record was complete, James titled it after four words that came to him in a dream: Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss. “I woke up with them in my head,” he said in the press release. “I don’t know where it came from — probably just some random subconscious memory — but they really informed the feel of the album.”
Also informing the feel of the album are the musical influences that have contributed to the Maps sound. His love of My Bloody Valentine, specifically, can be felt in his music’s pace and textural depth. For his Algorhythm, James remembers the moment a friend shared with him MBV’s seminal record, Loveless…
When I was at school in the mid-90’s I was playing guitar in my first band, and we would rehearse after school. Our bassist, who was older than the rest of us, used to bring records along for me to borrow and listen to.
One of those records was Loveless. I distinctly remember getting home and playing it for the first time and being confused at first by what I was hearing. I was convinced the record was playing at the wrong speed! When I finally relaxed and let the music wash over me it was truly like nothing I had ever heard before. I felt like my brain was being ‘retuned’ as I listened, the sounds were so exciting and sonically mind-blowing.
Hearing Loveless changed my view of what music can be, and sparked all sorts of new interests in finding out how a record like that is produced. It was a huge influence on me, and still is to this day. I can’t remember any of the other records he lent me, but the fact I remember all these details about listening to Loveless shows so vividly what a moment of clarity it was for me. It also shows the power of sharing music with others.
Interested in retuning your brain by sharing and discovering music with other humans? Check out the Grey Matter beta.