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Charts And Maps - Dead Horse CD (album) cover


Charts And Maps


Post Rock/Math rock

3.84 | 26 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Excellent Math / Jazz Hybrid

I picked up Charts and Maps in a glut of free math rock, so my brain has been filled with the style for the last week or so. DEAD HORSE is one of the standouts, a record that earns its hipness more from jazz than playing the nerd card. Along with the standard math technique of intertwining clean guitar lines, C&M sport a genuinely talented lead sax player who just happens to be able to improvise in 13/8. Rather than math rock's usual jerky, quirky, and just slightly too perky mood, this record moves through many emotions, some of which are quite dark. The title track, for instance, is somewhat heavy and gloomy, while the opener begins with an almost tribal drumbeat before a trippy sax enters almost reminiscent of the late great psych trio Morphine.

Fans of math rock should not be dismayed. There are plenty of odd syncopations and uneven time melodic lines. Glittery clean guitars are found throughout the album. The drumming is complex. But the jazz ideas change the overall color of everything. It's richer, bigger, more realized. I think the reason there are so many math rock EPs out there is that it's hard to make more than 20-30 minutes of this style before getting really tedious. The great bands succeed, but Chart and Maps instead have chosen to expand their palette. I think the result is superior to virtually any of their peers. The juxtaposition between a meticulously composed math line and a grooving jam works seamlessly here, with each style providing extra juice to the other.

So why not a masterpiece rating? Completely a gut judgment on my part. While I can listen to this album on repeat and continue enjoy it again and again, nothing grabs my heart and beats it for me (a tall order I know, but most of masterpiece albums do this at some point). The album does engage my mind as well as any, and certainly is an excellent addition to any prog collection.

Negoba | 4/5 |


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