Song of the Day: Maps - Let Go of the Fear

photo by Allie Pasquier

photo by Allie Pasquier

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Each and every Friday we deliver songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Midday show with Cheryl Waters, is “Let Go of the Fear” by Maps from their 2009 album Turning The Mind on Mute.

Maps - Let Go of the Fear (MP3)


British bedroom beat mastermind James Chapman is back on the maps with his spill-all sophomore release Turning the Mind. Since signing with Mute records and receiving a 2007 Mercury Prize nomination for his critically acclaimed so-called “indie” debut, We Can Create, the one-man laptop band from Northampton known as Maps, yanked up his electro roots and unearthed more than just catchy synth and bass. Dark, deep and downright honest, the album is a digital tale of Chapman’s 10-year battle with substance abuse and his road to sobriety. With songs like “I Dream of Crystal,” “Valium In the Sunshine” and “The Note (These Voices),” Turning the Mind can come across as another swirling, “whoa-man” techno drug-soundtrack. I’m not gonna lie, it definitely screams light show at times, but take a deeper look and Chapman’s frustration, anger, joy and sorrow surfaces like a bright light against the entrancing pitch-black wirl of sound and matter.

“Let Go of the Fear” lays it all out in the title. A dark disco of Justice-like rhythm and fizzing bass, Chapman layers new wave goth vocals over ill-omened ambiance, urging us to let go of the fear that lurks within. He keeps the manic high rolling with blips, beeps, wobble chime and the faint, sporadic sound of a zooming jet. There’s even a synth-pop, Dracula-sounding keyboard break down smack dab in the middle. It’s a song for everyone, covering the dance needs of Club Poppers, bass buffs, techno junkies and electroheads alike, while still acting as a powerful picture of healing and transformation. Now if only this song could start playing every time a horribly awkward or scary situation arose. Forget be afraid, you’d just start grooving the fear away.

Maps is currently touring the UK, but rumor has it, is making his way with DJ August to the U.S. in March. In the meanwhile, check out his Myspace page for an array of live videos and performances or KEXP for his 2007 in-studio performance. But for now, sit back, trip out and let go with his video, “Let Go of the Fear”:

and just for laughs, check out the KEXP promo video the band did for the station:

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