Maps – aka James Chapman – has shared the latest single from his fastest and most rhythmic album to date, Counter Melodies, due out on Mute on 10 February 2023.
Last year Chapman dropped the first half of his new album and followed up with an infectious remix of ‘Witchy Feel’ from GLOK (Ride’s Andy Bell) - each piece unfolding to reveal his most euphoric album yet. Today, Maps heralds the second half of the album with ‘Fever Dream’, one of the album’s most intensely layered tracks.
Listen to ‘Fever Dream’- BELOW:
The track was prompted by a bout of severe insomnia. “I went through a period of not being able to sleep,” remembers Chapman. “I'd just be lying there awake for most of the night and sometimes I’d get up to work on music. That influenced quite a lot of this album. With ‘Fever Dream’, I was trying to make it sound like waves and waves of paranoia. I wanted to capture that feeling of being half awake and half asleep and going inwards into your thoughts. It's still an uplifting track, but I wanted to isolate that idea of things falling apart, while you try to organise the chaos of your thoughts.”
From the opening chiming bell sounds of ‘Witchy Feel’, Maps nods towards club music – with a framing that has never been fully evident in his music so far. Beneath Counter Melodies’ grids of unwavering beats is a restless unpredictability, full of unplaceable sounds that arrive out of nowhere or which exist on the periphery of detectability. “I've always felt there are some elements of dance music that I like,” explains Chapman, “but sometimes it feels purely functional. I've always wanted to make music that has emotion and that makes people feel something. There are elements of this album that have a clubby influence, but I like throwing in curveballs to make my music a bit more interesting.”
Initial ideas for Counter Melodies began to form in the wake of Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss. Chapman chose not to tour the album beyond a few shows, instead, he found himself DJing a lot towards the end of 2019. “I was enjoying making my own tracks and playing them in my DJ sets,” he says. “It’s like a comedian trying out new material. I really liked the idea of tracks flowing into one another, like a continuous DJ set. As soon as that idea was in my head, I just worked really hard to make it happen.”
While Counter Melodies sounds totally unique in the Maps catalogue, there is something about its presentation and tonality that makes it instantly recognisable as Maps. What Chapman has achieved with Counter Melodies is a new adventure through the familiar emotional terrain of the Maps sound, while also transporting you to more resolutely optimistic and hopeful places.
Counter Melodies album tracklisting
Lack Of Sleep
My Love Is Like