Another in a long line of bedroom-produced electronic pop artists, Maps is the alter ego of one UK-based James Chapman. Originally released on a series of limited 10" records on his own Last Space Recordings label, the Start Something EP collects all of those original songs and tags on one additional piece. With a full length album already written and ready to be released around the middle of this year, this half-hour long batch of songs serves as a good introduction to his music.
With a healthy load of breathy vocals, some nice programming, and a touch of shoegazer guitars, Maps sounds a little like the Postal Service (with sleepier vocals) mixed with a touch of understated sonics from both the Spiritualized and My Bloody Valentine catalogs. "Lost My Soul" opens the release with soft, clipped beats and warm pads backing the soft vocals. Aching strings enter the mix and build during the soft crescendo choruses and push the track upward in a gentle arc. "Sparks In The Snow" bumps up the BPM a little bit and brings some spectral organ in alongside fuzzy washes of guitar and synths for another great mixture.
The rest of the short release moves back and forth between more mid-tempo tracks and slightly more upbeat tracks, always keeping tasteful blends of warm electronics, hazy guitars, and multi-tracked vocals. The six-minute "Some Winter Song" is a particular standout, opening with acoustic guitar and chimes over a sparse kick drum before the undulating track slowly adds a couple layers and turns into sort of a stutter-stepping lullaby at the end. As a whole, the release is a little on the safe side, with most of the hard edges rounded off to create something soft and dreamy. There's definitely potential here, though, and based on rough tracks from his upcoming full length, Maps is definitely one to keep an eye on.