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Charts And Maps - Dead Horse CD (album) cover

DEAD HORSE

Charts And Maps

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.84 | 22 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Dead Horse' - Charts & Maps (8/10)

Is it jazz, or is it post-rock? This is a question that listeners will be asking themselves while listening to Charts & Maps' debut full-length, 'Dead Horse'. A sprawling piece of music that conjures memories of The Mars Volta and King Crimson, Charts & Maps are surely one of the most interesting 'post-rock' acts I have heard this year. Although the purebred form of post-rock has passed its prime going on a decade now, Charts & Maps gives new life to the sound by not only incorporating the sound of jazz into the post-rock format, but blending the lines together so profusely that fans may argue over which sound is actually more dominant. This experiment may have turned out were it not for the tight musical skills of the band, and thankfully there is an exeuction that lives up to its bold concept.

Post-rock is a style of music that relies greatly on drawn out sequences, so in a way, it seems a natural fit for the meandering nature of jazz. Although my first impression when hearing a band was going to merge these sounds together would predict something along the lines of a mellow post rock rhythm underneath a jazzy sax solo, Charts & Maps actually goes in a fairly different direction. Much like King Crimson, the guitars are clean, but tense, pushing forth these dramatic textures that sound like Robert Fripp could have been at the helm. The jazz half- largely brought forth by Mark Allison's manic saxophone work- doesn't merely solo overtop, but provides the backbone for the band's heaviness. As the album's longest track 'In The Town of Machine' will indicate, the saxophone is used much like a second (or third) guitar, adding depth to the rhythm, and occasionally counterpointing the guitars. This works beautifully, and creates a much more interesting sound than there would be without the sax.

The Mars Volta's instrumental sensibilities are a perfect comparison to draw with the work of Charts & Maps. Although much post-rock is mellow and melodic, the work here is hard- hitting, intense, and intense. In between these equal portions of jazzy performance and post-rock composition is a bridge of psychedelia, brought forth by the effect-rife guitar soundscapes. Although listless by nature, these sections add to the feeling of 'controlled madness' I get from 'Dead Horse'. Many fans of either jazz or post-rock may be turned off by the fusion, but there is strength and wonder to the marriage that Charts & Maps have ordained.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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