Maps is the project of Northampton U.K. sound sculptor James Chapman, who combines indie electronic sounds with atmospheric, sleepy rock that owes as much to Spiritualized and My Bloody Valentine as it does to Four Tet and Boards of Canada. Recording for the Mute Records roster, his 2007 debut earned a Mercury Prize nomination and paved the way for a series of ever-evolving albums like 2013's Vicissitude and the ambitious, highly collaborative 2019 album Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss..
A classical violinist and percussionist in his earlier years, Chapman eventually gravitated toward atmospheric rock and electronic music. In 2005, he bought a 16-track recorder and began recording songs inspired by Spacemen 3 and the Beloved. EPs such as Start Something, which was released via Last Space Recordings in 2006, led to Chapman signing with Mute. The label released Maps' 2007 debut album We Can Create, which was co-produced by Valgeir Sigurosson (Björk) and mixed by Ken Thomas (Sigur Rós). Shortlisted for the Mercury prize, the album earned widespread acclaim and set the table for his more electronically inclined follow-up, 2009's Turning the Mind, which explored the concepts of mindfulness and the way the mind reacts to different stimuli. Chapman further honed his sound on 2013's Vicissitude, which featured some of his catchiest and most electronic-based songs to date. The following year the remix collection Realigned, which featured some of the best reworkings of all of Maps music to date and included contributions from Andy Stott, M83, and the Field, among others, arrived. In 2016, Chapman detoured into a new project, collaborating with Mute labelmate Polly Scattergood as the duo ondeadwaves. Resuming work as Maps, he set out to record his most ambitious album yet, working with classical ensemble the Echo Collective and a variety of singers and guest instrumentalists to create 2019's Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss. ~ Kenyon Hopkin