The new wave maps out its progression

With the decade of the noughties hurtling towards its conclusion it’s now that every music journalist, critic and record exec will look back and trace the musical path of the last ten years, with the return of the art-rock – synth infused – punk ethos of new wave under considerable discussion.   Since it returned to our shores it has engulfed every popular music genre with its thirst for groove and its desire to surprise.

The real beauty of this burgeoning scene is its ability to hijack other sounds and perfectly integrate them into its evolving palate.    New wave could be tenuously linked to the late 60s with experimental outfits like the Silver Apples – sonic scientists & musical magpies in search of the ultimate spaced-out groove.   Although the real birth of the new wave movement is commonly associated with the late 70s to early eighties and beyond, with bands such as Talking Heads, Television and Blondie.

The recent plethora of bands tagged with the new wave sound has featured a diverse range of acts that straddle many popular musical genres – including pop, indie, dance and even folk.    Many of the current artists owe much of the recent divergence to James Murphy and his DFA label – who led the way forward with a hybrid sound of punk, electro, rave and funk at the beginning of the decade.  Many of the current crop of new wave artists have melded their own particular detached influences into the present zeitgeist of synth-based pop to recreate a constantly evolving montage, which categorizes the core essence of New Wave music.

Following the new wave template for synth based hybridisation is Maps: aka – James Chapman.   Performing at Cargo in London on Monday night, with his touring partner August, the sheer scale of influences, sonic exhilaration and underlying groove highlighted the adventurous nature of  new wave.  Many of the songs were played from his latest album – ‘Turning the mind’ – an album of cathartic symphonies about healing the soul and psyche.   There were many influences on display, most notably the melancholic  drone of Spiritualized mixed with the euphoric washes of the shoegazing period, set closer ‘Valium in the sunshine‘ converged this sound to dizzying effect.    Songs like ‘Let go of the fear‘ and ‘Love will come‘ displayed more of a dance floor vibe – all heavy synths and lifting beats.

Maps showcased the progressive and adaptable charm of new wave – with the ability to reinterpret the synth -based sound to incorporate new influences and tastes in the world of electro, house and shoegaze while charting out a new course of discovery.


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