Updated April 2023
James Chapman a.k.a. Maps is a recording artist and producer signed to Mute Records.
His 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 works with both analogue and digital equipment and has a keen interest in exploring both these 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, Dave Gahan, A Certain Ratio, Andy Bell (Ride), Bombay Bicycle Club and Susanne Sundfor.
James Chapman is also a keen producer, mixer and co-writer with other artists. You can check out some of his other work here: https://thisismaps.com/other-production-work/
We Can Create
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)
Turning The Mind
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.
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).
Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss.
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).
Over the course of 2020, Chapman released four EP’s titled ‘Colours. Remixed. Time. Loss.’ This collection of remixes featured collaborations with artists such as Stephen Morris (New Order), A Certain Ratio, TVAM, GLOK (Andy Bell from Ride) and C Duncan.
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’
Chapman released his fifth studio album, “Counter Melodies”, on February 10th 2023 via Mute.
The 10-track album was an upbeat, uplifting and escapist work – one the fastest, most intensely euphoric albums that Chapman has ever produced.
This was followed by “Counter Mixes” in June 2023 – six reworkings by Chapman of selected tracks from “Counter Melodies”.
Reviews of ‘Counter Melodies’:
“Insistently upbeat, immersive return” – Uncut 8/10
“… invites immersion” – Record Collector
“… there is little doubt the whole would go down an absolute storm on dancefloors all over the globe, and yet there is a sense the record is “more” than “just” an immaculate series of club bangers.” – The Vinyl District
“… a mystical journey to the frontier of reality” – Sound Of Violence
“Counter Melodies, with its textured electro-pop sounds and DJ mix-style format, slots right into Mute’s eclectic vibe and adds an exciting new dimension to Maps’ own discography.” – AllMusic
‘James Chapman has taken Maps to a new dimension that essentially opens the door to even more exciting horizons in the future.’ – Under The Radar
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Remix enquiries: Roland Brown email@example.com