CHARTS & MAPS - Enemies Of C. Frias

Charts & Maps - Enemies Of C. Frias

4 songs
28:54 minutes
***** ***
Lost Children


More and more bands release their music under Creative Commons licences, making their art freely available for everyone. As fan friendly as this may seem, it is unfortunately an undeniable reality that quantity often prevails over quality, which makes it consequently very hard to find the rare highlight.

Charts & Maps, an instrumental collective from Los Angeles, are one such exception. After a first EP last year, they are now back with a new recording, having added a guitarist and a saxophonist to their line-up, and it shows. Stylistically somewhere between the intricacy of math rock and the solemnity of post rock, it’s especially the saxophone that adds a jazzy component, reminding me on the opener Pearl Divers Of The Arabian Peninsula a little of King Crimson. The following Herd Of Elephants is a more lyrical piece with less jazz parts. The Sheriff Suspects Arson (ii) resumes the frantic energy of the opener, before the ten minute epic In The Town Of Machine ends this half hour album with a bang. If the preceding songs were all very good, this last track is a masterpiece of combining the most different elements, including fusion, progressive rock and all of the aforementioned genres.

The math rock scene has become quite opaque lately, with always more newcomers getting into instrumental rock, but Charts & Maps definitely have the potential to stand out. At home in a math rock with fast yet most often undistorted guitars, the versatile rhythm section and the jazzy saxophone do their best to set them apart from nearly every other band. Charts & Maps list Battles and Tortoise among their influences and clearly can be located somewhere between those two. This is clearly a must-have for every fan of ambitious instrumental guitar rock music… with woodwinds!

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