Taking some time out from making music with Charles Sage as Hessien, Tim Martin brings his Maps and Diagrams project to the surface with four exclusive songs for Fluid Audio.
‘Cubiculo’ features a more structured, loop-based arrangement, drawing attention to a rounded and melodic stencil with focus on subtle, micro-crystalised rhythm, surrounded by a self-assurance and tangled textures with a salute towards the work of Oval and their deconstructed works of the 90′s.
‘Cubiculo’ creates a less-harsh listening environment compared to ‘The Giant Woods’ album on Yuki Yaki released in December 2009 and this is another steadfast release carefully crafted, interwoven with unfolding elements that makes Maps and Diagrams’ compositions so precisely enduring.
The Silent Ballet Review:
There are many traps into which electronic music can (and regularly does) fall. The nature of a music that is conceived, planned, and created entirely on a computer screen means that the composers can often get caught up in excessive lengths, dead textures, and alienating structures. For this reason it is all the more impressive when a strong statement is made in electronic music. Maps and Diagrams’ Cubiculo is one such example. At under twenty minutes, it is if anything a bit short, but this is a welcome feature of an electronic release as compared to extreme lengths resulting from a composer laying out all of his ideas without editing himself. The short length makes Cubiculo a concise statement of what Maps and Diagrams’ Tim Martin is trying to achieve – beautiful, looping, dreamlike tracks with extreme attention to the textural details of every sound produced.
The sense of listening to a half-remembered dream is strong throughout Cubiculo. Sounds are looped with additional layers slowly accumulating, constantly giving all of the detailed electronic sounds new contexts to work within. One of the wonderful features of the music is that Martin puts a lot of attention into the individual sounds he is using. While many electronic artists put most of the focus into the structuring and gathering of materials, every sound on this album feels like it was created or altered with great attention to textural detail.
Right from opening track, “The Melancholy of the Weavers,” all sounds hover gently within a cohesive structure – the light percussive elements sound organic, the repetitive bass sound is active and warm, and every loop dropped into place over this structure feels as though Martin has put infinite care into its exact sonic specifications. Every sound is extremely active and organic, creating dense, lively textures. It is from this combination of detailed, surreal sounds and constant looping that the album gains its strange, dreamlike sound. Every pop, hum, glitch, and drone sounds specifically crafted for the exact sonic context that Martin, rather than being haphazardly stacked in whatever configuration happened to occur. This leads to true beauty in some spots, like on “Gnomish Twang” when slight traces of melody arise out of the static foreground that gives the track its specific sound.
One benefit of the nonstop release of solo electronic albums is that they make it all the more exciting to come across albums where there is real effort and attention to detail. Anyone with a computer can now throw together an uninspired, lazy collage in a sequencing program in a matter of minutes. Releases like Cubiculo remind us that there are still attentive composers out there with an ear for detail and the desire to create rewarding works. While the music itself would definitely make this album highly suggested, the short length and free download from Fluid Audio means that no fan of organic-sounding ambient electronic should pass on this release.