June 28, 2007


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Maps, We Can Create
Mute Records, 2007

The baiting, track-suited geeks at our Relatively Compelling Techno Bands desk have produced nothing but wiseacre haikus ever since this one shuffled in pretending not to be interested in an objective review. Latest whiteboard entry: “Atari rhythms/My laptop sits, abandoned/Free time spent weirdly.” Enough’s enough, though, because in reality there are much more deserving fish to fry. James Chapman’s one-man opus – the best Billy Corgan Meets the Swirlies In Super Mario Stadium electro-mushing in history – promises huge potential, but first he’s going to have to stop Space Invader-izing Smashing Pumpkins’ “Perfect” in every song. There are solid points in Chapman’s favor, such as the smartly melodic qualities and Byrds-like support-vocals of these unhurried, lightly snarling, “Perfect”-copying creations. It’s Chapman’s bio, though, that contains the real shocker: the songs were all made by splicing tape together, no help from computers. That’s sort of like Grandma making her universally appealing pineapple-orange Bundt from scratch rather than simply figuring out how to unsnap the store-bought’s Satan-invented plastic container, but only jerks blurt such observations out loud. B-Eric W. Saeger