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CHARTS AND MAPS

Post Rock/Math rock • United States


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Charts And Maps biography
CHARTS AND MAPS is a band from Los Angeles, USA, active up until 2009. Three recordings survive of this outstanding underground band: two long EPs from 2008 and one full album that was released in 2011. Not many details about them still circulate, except for they were part of the arts/music collective Heard Of Elephants (along with other bands such as THE NOCTURNES, RANDOM PATTERNS, WOOLEN, etc.) and that they were a great band to watch live. All the three releases are available as free downloads.

Musically, CHARTS AND MAPS come with a surprising take on several genres that they hibridize and transcend towards a new form of instrumental rock. Their bouquet of styles lies on a drums/bass/guitar foundation that is either post rock when (somewhat) slower or math rock when faster, but instead the crazyness of HELLA or the metallic edge of DON CABALLERO what we get is a very expressive brass section that gives a strong avant-prog flavour. The saxophone playing often takes centre stage and gives the mood of the pieces, ranging from funky to jazzy and even free jazz. Groovy space rock sections come to give a gripping feel of a live recording, attesting the band's reputed qualities as stage performers. On the two EPs previous to the studio album, the jazz sound is much less prominent in favour of a more standard post/math rock sound.

Mixing post rock, math rock, jazz and psychedelia, CHARTS AND MAPS have created a strong eclectic brand of experimental rock music that clears new paths in the indie progressive scene. Recommended to fans of KAMMERFLIMER KOLLEKTIEF, BATTLES, MASERATI, DEERHOOF, FRANK ZAPPA, KING CRIMSON, OZRIC TENTACLES, TRANS AM, PELE, DO MAKE SAY THINK, BELL ORCHESTRE, TORTOISE...

Bio by Alex (harmonium.ro)

Charts And Maps official website

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CHARTS AND MAPS discography


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CHARTS AND MAPS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.84 | 22 ratings
Dead Horse
2011

CHARTS AND MAPS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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CHARTS AND MAPS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Enemies Of C. Frias
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Trouble At The Old Mill
2008

CHARTS AND MAPS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dead Horse by CHARTS AND MAPS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 22 ratings

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Dead Horse
Charts And Maps Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars An interesting band to say the least as they sort of put a new spin on the Post-Rock genre. In fact this doesn't sound like your typical Post-Rock at all but it has that flavour along with a Psychedelic / Jazz / Avant vibe. Whatever it is I really like it. The sax is often dissonant which helps make this all instrumental album an adventerous one.

"Take Me Back To Highland Park" opens with drums as the sax comes and goes. It settles after a minute. This is good. Dissonant sax ends it. "In The Town Of Machine" is the longest song at over 11 1/2 minutes. It's experimental to start out then a catchy rhythm takes over yet at the same time there is this avant vibe going on. It picks up before 4 minutes as angular guitar and sax help out. It settles 5 1/2 minutes in and builds. A nice drum / guitar section 8 minutes in. They are ripping it up after 9 1/2 minutes. Dissonant sax late as it settles. "Gold Roomer" opens with drums, percussion and intricate guitar. The sax comes in and we get some dissonant sax 3 minutes in. The sound changes as it settles in. Great sound here. Cool sound after 6 minutes and check out the drumming !

"Now I Must Hit You" has this catchy melody early then they slow it down. Then we get drums, guitar and sax expressions. It settles some after 5 1/2 minutes then it turns intense a minute later before settling again late. "Pearl Divers Of The Arabian Peninsula" has a heavy beat as the guitar joins in along with other sounds. The sax sounds great after 2 minutes. The electric guitar is psychedelic sounding 5 minutes in and the sax comes to the fore after 6 1/2 minutes. "Hypnotiq American Firework" opens with sax then it kicks in quickly. A melody line is repeated over and over before 3 minutes then the guitar solos over top. It's speeding up 7 1/2 minutes in then it ends experimentally. "Dead Horse" opens with intricate guitar as vocal expressions join in and more. Avant is the word. It then kicks in after 2 minutes. It settles back 5 1/2 minutes in. The sax and guitar are lighting it up 8 minutes in.

A solid 4 stars for sure. These LA guys are a talented bunch.

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 Enemies Of C. Frias by CHARTS AND MAPS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2008
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Enemies Of C. Frias
Charts And Maps Post Rock/Math rock

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Really interesting stuff!

Lately I've been reading a lot about Charts and Maps, more specifically, about their "Dead Horse" album which is actually their first studio album released. However, I have not listened to it yet, but I am sure I will, eventually. Meanwhile, I went to Lost Children's free downloads and did what I had to do. Now I can say that people who like post rock, but not in its classic or organic style, but with a blend of genres, should go and download it. Here they offer a four-track EP with a total time of 28 minutes; three of those songs are 5-7 minutes average, while the last one is about 10:30. Now let me tell why I am suggesting listening to "Enemies of C. Frias". The first motif is called "Pearl Drivers of the Arabian Peninsula". Repetitive drums and then some kind of jazzy guitars, later the rhythm becomes a bit odd with the addition of new elements, creating a strange blend of post-rock, jazz and even RIO. The song is enjoyable from beginning to end, giving us a proof of their great skills as musicians and composers. Since this first track I knew they wouldn't be a regular band, on the other side, they are an original and really interesting act.

"Herd of Elephants" starts slow but later it becomes juicier. Now the blend is of math rock with funky guitars. The song changes a bit after 2:30 and produces a gentle and comfortable sound. I like the bass notes and all the guitars creating different figures. Very nice track. The next one is "The Sheriff Suspects Arson (ii)" and with it the saxophone and jazzy style return. The first two minutes are mid-tempo to slow, but later there is a wonderful moment in which the intensity increase little by little until it reaches a climax. Later it slows down again; the math-rock guitars appear and that extraordinary blend is formed once again. The last two minutes are different, with new atmospheres and another style; the beauty of Charts and Maps is their capacity of gathering so many elements in just one song.

The EP finishes with its longest track, entitled "In the Town of Machine", whose first introductory minute is full of slide guitars. Later the slides continue but now accompanied by drums and bass. Through the minutes the guitars add new forms, styles and elements. We can listen to some Crimsonian (Discipline era) ones that produce the so called math-rock style. Then the song is progressing little by little, creating an intense, addictive, and vertiginous sound. After five minutes, the saxophone enters with some cadence and softness, and its sound also becomes higher and more emotional while the seconds pass. With this only song, one can feel satisfied, but if you have this track, along with the previous three, one can be more than happy. And thanks Charts and Maps for giving this EP for free.

If I were you, I would go and download it, believe me, it is worth it. Now my homework is to finally listen to their full-length album. My final grade for "Enemies of C. Frias" is four stars, well deserved.

Enjoy it!

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 Dead Horse by CHARTS AND MAPS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 22 ratings

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Dead Horse
Charts And Maps Post Rock/Math rock

Review by HolyMoly
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl and Canterbury Teams

3 stars Got this a couple of weeks ago, and it's been enjoyable enough to garner many repeated listenings. The style is instrumental rock, centering on nimble rhythms, interlocking melodies, a jazzy sense of swing, and some lead saxophone. Nominally, such stuff is often called "Math Rock" in that it centers a lot on tricky rhythms and fugue-like instrumental passages, in much that same way as stuff like King Crimson's "Discipline". However, this stuff doesn't often stray from 4/4 or 6/8 time, though it does shift tempo and feel. It's a "groove" album, something you don't often associate with post-rock or math-rock, and this grooviness really helps its accessibility - it's meant to sound good first, and make you think second! And yet, it's very composed too -- not a "jam" album by any means. It's pretty complex, but it doesn't beat you over the head with its complexity. I certainly appreciate bands that can pull that off.

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 Dead Horse by CHARTS AND MAPS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 22 ratings

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Dead Horse
Charts And Maps Post Rock/Math rock

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post 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.

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 Dead Horse by CHARTS AND MAPS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 22 ratings

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Dead Horse
Charts And Maps Post Rock/Math rock

Review by 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.

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 Dead Horse by CHARTS AND MAPS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 22 ratings

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Dead Horse
Charts And Maps Post Rock/Math rock

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars A heck of a good Christmas present, this free Bandcamp album. Thank you !!

Nominally a post/math rock album, this band has with this album also moved at least one of their legs over to the Canterbury and/or Jazz genre. The main first impression is that this is a cracking good jazz album. After some close examinations of the music, the strong post/math rock influences shines through too. There are some really weird rhythms and melody structures on this album. Fascinating weird and unusual, I have to add.

Fascinating is the word I would use on this album in general. The music is altogether instrumental with the emphasis on guitars, bass and drums. Half acoustic guitars, it sounds like. There are some full guitar crescendos used sparely. A saxophone is sometimes used as solo instrument and that to good effect. But most of the music is downtuned and very post rock like. The jazz ethos of solos follows solos is not employed on this album.

I have to admit I have never heard music like this in my life before. A crossover between post rock and jazz is a very fascinating creature and I am all for this. As much as I am all for this great album. An album which is not quite a masterpiece, but is not far away from that status.

ProgArchives really has some hidden gemstones and this album is one of them. This album has to be heard to be believed.

4.5 stars

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 Dead Horse by CHARTS AND MAPS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 22 ratings

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Dead Horse
Charts And Maps Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Negoba
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.

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Thanks to harmonium.ro for the artist addition.

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