Maps: Counter Melodies (Mute) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, April 21st, 2024  


Counter Melodies


Mar 29, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Having released four critically acclaimed albums since emerging nearly two decades ago with the groundbreaking Start Something EP, it was somewhat inevitable that James Chapman (aka Maps) would go back to basics on his fifth collection. Chapman was somewhat restricted, then eventually inspired, by the constraints of lockdown, having already chosen to play DJ sets rather than tour his fourth LP, 2019’s Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss. Thus he had already set the blueprint for what his next record would sound like and the results are Counter Melodies.

Arguably his most club-orientated, dance-infused LP to date, Counter Melodies is the sound of Chapman rediscovering himself whilst taking Maps to its next, natural sonic progression. Each of its 10 pieces are mostly instrumental, with the main objective being for each one to flow seamlessly into the next as if this were a continuous DJ set.

While Counter Melodies marks a notable departure from Maps’ previous works, and in particular its predecessor, there’s something quite joyous and playful about the way every piece of the jigsaw molds together and fits into place so succinctly. Whether in the cinematic chimes on opener “Witchy Feel,” hauntingly mesmeric grooves of “Psyche,” or epic Balearics inspired “Lack of Sleep,” Counter Melodies ebbs and flows in a way that’s distinctly familiar with Chapman’s and Maps’ other output.

Having made his name from the outset as an electronic sonic explorer, James Chapman has taken Maps to a new dimension that essentially opens the door to even more exciting horizons in the future. (

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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