Maps and Diagrams

By Elizabeth Wells

Maps And Diagrams is one Tim Martin, a guy who grew up in the 70s listening to his dad’s collection of punk rock, Kraftwerk and Talking Heads records (progressive father; god knows what Martin would be producing now if his dad had listened to Genesis). When he discovered the means to marry this soundtrack of his childhood with the hip hop and electro he loved in the 90s, Maps and Diagrams was born.

Disillusioned with the glut of over-produced, deliberately arcane releases occupying the forefront of electronic music, Martin has returned to a simpler, warmer analogue sound and here it is in all its beautiful simplicity on Free-Time. Simple chord structures form the backbone of this material, punctuated by unobtrusive percussion and Detroit-esque beats (as on Autohoum US). The music has an unashamedly retro feel, harking back to the halcyon days of mid-90s techno and abstract dance, but it sounds none the worse for that. The closest comparison I can think of here is with someone like Ulrich Schnauss, whose Faraway Trains Passing By scored a big hit on the electronica circuit in 2001. Martin mines a similar rich full sound, but in my opinion this is a far better piece of work: its production is both more cohesive and less pedestrian than its predecessor.
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