Alternative music reviews

Imaginary Maps

Imaginary Maps Nov 2003

If this review is short it's because I find it hard to describe music that is truly original. Imaginary Maps are the dreamchild of VEO, a musician based in Santa Barbara. It doesn't sound like anything else I can think of. it has guitar, piano, electronic keyboards, occasional banjo, blues harmonica, viola (he obviously has picked the session musicians very carefully) and samples thrown in. It's a rare talent to be able to take all of these instruments and styles and mix them together so cohesively. It has very dense instrumentation that fills every available area of the harmonic spectrum and verges at times on the claustrophobic. It's always interesting and sometimes challenging.

VEO's voice reminds me of post-punk bands like A Certain Ratio and Dub Sex and is used as a sound texture and not just as some singing over the music. California Man is just magnificent guitar and a bit of country twang banjo with sweeping melodic vocals and guitar. Maybe the songs are a bit similar in mood and texture but you just need to view the album as an extended mood-piece it is more than a sum of its parts. When you have 40 years of musical endeavour to draw on, sometimes you need someone to chart it and create the Imaginary Maps to bring it all together.


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