Technology, like any tool, can be both a blessing and a curse. It can seperate us, keeping us locked inside glass fortresses of solitude, where we never really connect but constantly bump into one another. On the other hand, technology brings us together, offering us rare glimpses into who, what, and where we are. It offers us the opportunity to connect on a deep, Human level.
The band Mapkeeper have never met in person, despite making some of the most cohesive, compelling, emotive future bass pop this reviewer's heard in a hot minute. It's hard to believe Mapkeeper live 1000 miles away from one another, with Adam Rensch residing in Chicago and Michelle Pawlowsky dwelling in Montreal. The Dead Ends EP sounds like their knees were literally touching. You can practically feel the humidity in the air from their conjoined breath.
The Dead Ends EP is a tragically-short-but-oh-so-sweet gem of a future bass EP - 4 tracks of post-industrial grinding bass, trilling trap hats and ethereal electronic ambiance. The traditional grime template of sci-fi electronics and human vocals, courtesy of Pawlosky, is adorned with intricate arrangements - synth strings, digital reverb, backing vocals - preventing things from ever becoming dull or predictable.
It's impossible to pick one standout moment, out of the four. The entire EP is flawless, from start to finish. As in Beyonce, "I woke up like this,"-Flawless. One gets the feeling both Rensch and Pawlosky eat, breathe, and sweat music. It's easy to imagine them waking up, one morning, with a complete pop masterpiece on their bedside notepad. It's completely natural, totally organic, fresh and free and spontaneous.
That being said, the Dead Ends EP is not merely pbr&b - not merely bandwagoneering, but updating the sound to make something original and unique, as on "At Your Door", which takes Mapkeeper's futurist sound design and conjoins it with spectral, ghostly indie garage rock, like The Strokes being remixed by Burial. It's one of the most artful future beat/Indie crossovers I've heard in a minute, in a terribly exciting way. Most whitebred Indie Rock couldn't be less interesting, at the moment, sadly - while straight-up electronica runs the risk of losing the masses, who don't know how to find the beautiful intricacies in its pummeling repetition. That's what's so great about heavenly hybrids like Mapkeeper - they act as translators and gatekeepers, getting different communities talking and connecting.
The Dead Ends EP is made up of two originals, one guest lyricist, and a reworking of "Shake It Off" by the much-dreaded Taylor Swift. Mapkeeper are doing a public service, reclaiming Swift's infectious pop into something artful and authentic - something Swift seems to be incapable of.
It's hard to believe Mapkeeper met on Twitter. It's a clear rebuttal to the idea that one can't find real connection and kindred spirits on the 'net. You can find ANYTHING on the Internet, even lifelong friends and musical soulmates. Do not sleep. Buy this now, and buy a copy for all of your friends! Mapkeeper won't stay underground for very long, so get in on the ground floor and claim your bragging rights.
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