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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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zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars This album is a free download on the band's Bandcamp page and it kicks some serious butt all over the place. Charts And Maps are an American quintet from Los Angeles who on Dead Horse combine math rock, post rock and jazz-rock together for some great results. The line-up consists of two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer and the most unconventional member: a saxophonist who also plays keyboards (other than a little synth you don't really hear any keys). The sax player is almost like a third guitarist here, although usually what he is playing is either more riff-based or melodic than what the guitarists are doing.

The bassist is credited with "masterbassing" while I assume the drummer is the one responsible for "hitting things." These guys have a sense of humour which shows in some of the song titles here. As usual with math rock, you are going to find some excellent drumming on this album. This is a great recording which has a warm sound that benefits the music. The first track "Take Me Back To Highland Park" features some nice chorus effect on guitar. This song is a good choice for an opener, with it's pounding drums intro. Up next is the 11 1/2 minute "In The Town Of Machine." After a spacey, twangy and slightly avant beginning heads into a blues-rock groove with what sounds like slide-guitars. Later the guitar playing turns more post/math arpeggio/cross-picking style.

The rhythm changes to a more post rock vibe, getting louder and faster. Calms down a bit with some sax soloing. Slowly the song builds up a crescendo with the sax now playing a riff. Then it almost abruptly changes to a funky groove with post rock guitars. A great fuzz- toned guitar solo. The playing gets looser with some blistering guitar playing then some Crimson style hypnotic, interlocking guitars take over for the rest of the track. "Gold Roomer' starts out sounding very African influenced, especially the drumming and guitar playing. Alternates between that and a slower-paced groove with wailing sax for awhile.

I love the middle part with a straight-ahead hard rock beat as the sax and guitar play a short and slow riff over top. Later gets post rock sounding with what sounds like an altered voice in the background. Changes to a new groove before going into a great uplifting and emotional part with sax and guitar playing in unison. "Pearl Divers Of The Arabian Peninsula" starts off with pounding drums and country style guitar before becoming more post rock sounding then changes to some kind of Spanish music. A lot going on in this song. A large part of the song is a mid-paced groove with post rock guitars and sax soloing. Later a guitar solo that can't decide whether it wants to be blues-rock or math rock.

"Hypnotiq American Firework" is the jazziest song and features some funky wah-wahed guitar. The interplay between the instruments here is really good, this song shows how tight these guys are. Really cool and weird sounding guitar soloing in this track. The title track has more altered vocals which are barely audible or noticeable. Opens loose and spacey then goes into a post rock/fusion hybrid, just grooving away. Some riffs and melodies on sax. Features some sax skronking before delayed guitar and a sympathetic rhythm section lead to some sax soloing. Love the guitar soloing at the end as the sax is still soloing away.

This should be downloaded and even if you don't like the music at least you didn't have to pay for it! But seriously, this is some great recent music that would appeal to an audience larger than just Post and Math fans. In some ways it may be a gateway drug for some to get into Post/Math. This is terrific instrumental music and Dead Horse is one of the better albums of 2011, IMO. This gets 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |

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