James Chapman a.k.a. Maps is a recording artist and producer signed to Mute Records.
His first album “We Can Create” (2007) was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize in the UK, and was followed by an extensive tour of the UK, Europe and North America. “A joy from start to finish” (NME) “(a) terrific debut more resplendent with each listen” (The Guardian) “an early contender for album of the year” (Clash) “utterly wonderful…a work of bedazzling wonder.” (Word)
His 2nd album “Turning The Mind” was released in 2009. The 12-track album saw Chapman unveil a darker, more electronic and personal journey than his previous work. It is an album of glistening and melodic electronica, exploring themes of mental states and personal struggles. It was described by The Observer as “a masterpiece that stands with the best”, and by The Word as “…kaleidoscopic, vivid, sensual and spangled up to the eyeballs”.
“Vicissitude”, Chapman’s 3rd studio album, was released in July 2013. The album explores themes of change and perception, but is ultimately a portrait of optimism through difficult times. “10 tracks of soul-bearing introspection swathed in layers of rich reverb, icy chill and ephemeral echoes of 30 years of synth pop” (9/10 in Clash), “the songs brim with the joy of recovery. These are great dream-pop tunes with sudden, unexpected twists and gear shifts: a lysergic-soaked Pet Shop Boys meeting Moby at his most electronic and blissful.” (4/5 The Guardian)
A remix album, named “Realigned”, including remixes from all 3 studio albums, was released late-August 2014. It features remixes from the likes of M83, Andy Stott, Oliver Huntemann, Steve Lawler and The Field. Chapman also provided a full-length continuous mix of the album, which was included on the digital release.
James Chapman’s unique brand of multi-layered electronica emerged from years locked away in his bedroom. He then moved on to build a whole studio in his home in Northamptonshire, affectionately referred to as Maps HQ. His self-taught and exploratory approach to music and composition has been key in creating his own sound. And yet his early years as a classical violinist and percussionist also means he has a skill for arranging and scoring. He still works mostly on analogue equipment but has a keen interest in bridging both analogue and digital methods in his work.
He is also a keen remixer, and has produced official remixes for such artists as M83, The Killers, Depeche Mode, Moby, Bombay Bicycle Club and Susanne Sundfor.
2016 saw the release of the onDeadWaves album, a collaboration with fellow Mute artist Polly Scattergood. The album was released to great critical acclaim and saw onDeadWaves playing select shows around the UK, opening for M83 in Manchester and Glasgow on their 2016 tour. “… a world of smeared mascara and trailer-park heartache, there’s something wonderfully cinematic about this debut single” (Q Magazine) “One of the year’s essential albums” (The Arts Desk).
On May 10th 2019, Chapman released his fourth studio album “Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss”. Taking 3 years to complete, this ambitious album saw Chapman work with the classical ensemble Echo Collective, as well as percussionists and guest vocalists from across the world. These stunning, impressionistic songs, scored and produced by Chapman himself, pushed further than ever before into new sonic territory for Maps. The album was met with widespread critical acclaim on release.
In 2019, Chapman performed a number of dates around the U.K. with a 5-piece band, including a sold out show at Purcell Room, Southbank Centre and a headline show at Bush Hall (as part of Sonic Cathedral’s 15 Year Anniversary celebrations).
2020 saw the release of a series of remix EPs. The project, titled ‘Colours. Remixed. Time. Loss.’ unfolded throughout the summer of that year. Each track from the album ‘Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss’ was remixed, and the collection was eventually released as a cassette album on Mute. A hugely impressive array of remixers were involved, including Stephen Morris (New Order), A Certain Ratio, TVAM, GLOK (Andy Bell, Ride), C Duncan, Barry Adamson, Polly Scattergood & Glowlines, Russian Linesman, Mark Peters, Simon Fisher Turner and Maps himself.
Reviews of ‘Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss’:
UNCUT – 8/10
ELECTRONIC SOUND – ‘Bold, ambitious and a little unexpected’
CLASH MAGAZINE – ‘To call ‘Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss.’ an epic album would be stating the obvious’
NME – ‘Sounds as wondrous as ever’
POPMATTERS – 8/10 ‘Maps’ ‘Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss.’ is a triumphantly realised album…’
MUSIC OMH – 4/5 ”Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss.’ achieves its aim handsomely, with many a moment to stop the hearts of its listener’
ALL MUSIC – 4/5 ‘(Chapman) steps firmly onto a bigger stage…he returns to Maps with a renewed sense of grandeur on the lush and orchestral ‘Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss.’…his most sweeping, cinematic work to date’
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