scientific map

Chicago's Scientific Map features five musicians from diverse backgrounds whose roots lie in gospel, hip hop, jazz,and rock. Led by guitarist Matt Hudson and vocalist Gene Stovall, the band members effortlessly blend their individual styles with elements of Afrobeat, funk, fusion, new groove, nu-jazz and psychedelia. Determined to make original music, this band really does sound original because they sound like themselves: five musicians who use their individuality to create a collective individual known as Scientific Map. The result is at once urban and entertaining.

"Modern yet smooth, accessible, funk-inflected atmospheric jazz with occasional urban undertones."
- Erie Times-News

"Laden with polished licks and fusion grooves."
- Pittsburgh City Paper


Rust Belt Soul ICR008

The second album by multicultural genre-busters Scientific Map takes a new direction by adding vocalist Gene Stovall, a longtime friend and collaborator of guitarist/vocalist/bandleader Matt Hudson.

Gene & Matt met over a decade ago in Pittsburgh. Both grew up along the Rust Belt, moving between Cleveland, Detroit, Erie, Pittsburgh and Rochester before coming to Chicago. Living in these different cities – and moving between their varied music scenes – has shaped the music the two write together.

Rust Belt Soul is what Gene & Matt call their new take on classic soul music. The album combines a love of vintage singers like Marvin Gaye with an urge to incorporate newer musical ideas. It also takes Gene & Matt's experience in electronica, funk, gospel, hip hop, house, jazz, reggae, rock & trance and mashes it up to create the latest version of the New Chicago Sound.

The production team assembled by Gene & Matt reflects the music's cross-genre feel. House music innovator Anthony Nicholson recorded the tracks with Brian Bullard, engineer for classical superstars Renée Fleming and Lang Lang. The album was mixed by Sean O'Keefe, virtuoso producer of gold records for Fall Out Boy, Hawthorne Heights and Plain White T's.

Praise for Rust Belt Soul:

Given that soul groups, meaning a handful of individuals who play together rather than an artist with a backing band, are by no means descending from the heavens each day, Scientific Map appear as something of a welcome rainfall in the midst of a drought. Fronted by vocalist Gene Stovall and guitarist/ vocalist Matt Hudson, the fivepiece, who shuttled between Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Detroit, the said 'rust belt', before settling in Chicago, sound like a proper lived-in entity who have the necessary cohesion and attention to detail to make the most of songs that draw a well conceived line between soul and pop-rock, so that melody is as, if not occasionally, more important than rhythm, which is no bad thing given that the art of writing a good verse and chorus is not to be scoffed at in these MPC-mad days. Bass, drums and analogue keys that sound like a Wurlitzer and a Juno, laced with an array of spectral, spangled and spiral-shaped tonalities, all provide a rich mosaic for the vocals and guitars, but the music stands up first and foremost on the quality of the songwriting. At times, there is a hint of Venus Brown or Martin Luther but the most obvious stylistic reference would be Van Hunt's wily Sly/Sugarfoot/Prince hybrid. In "Slow 5," "Saturn Return" and "Gentleman Johnnie," they have tunes that betray the kind of craftsmanship that warrants repeat listening. They take solos too, which is molto anti-urban.

Starting off with "Saturn Return," you can hear from the beginning the mash of genres spilled into the music.

If you say "I don't believe you," they'll "Roll It into Romance," and where you had found yourself in love with the idea of a multicultural album, you won't need to "take it slow" and you'll find yourself "In Love Again" and tripping on the amazing loveliness of the lyrics and sounds of this song. (+)

“Gentleman Johnnie” will take you to dance alone to the groove of the guitar until you fall asleep “from week to week” as you “Keep Sleeping” to the beat of the bass and drums with a space dreamy voice whispering in your hear “I can feel, I can feel.”

As you wake up from a dream, the sounds of “Punk Disco” have got you now dancing to the beat and saying “what I need to survive” is to move on, and as you seem to have been left alone, a voice slowly whispers for you to take a look at the “Photo 78” as it reminds you of a “little story” that puts a smile on your face.

And, as you get to the “end of the road” in “Nature Changes Consequences,” you picture yourself in a car driving hopeless, but as the end arrived, in the form of a slow, the “Slow 5,” a melody-filled song, with rhythms and sounds that will have you amazed and day dreaming, you finally realize it was all real and all along you were grooving to the music.

Scientific Map's second full-lengther swings from proggy-fusion to almost Hall & Oatesian-flavored pop/rock without missing a beat. Rust Belt Soul is held together mostly by the virtuoso guitar playing of bandleader Matt Hudson and tasty keys of Dave Holloway, and as a happy hacker, how can one not have a soft spot in the heart for a band that titles one of its songs "Vijay Singh?"

A great mix of grooves from Chicago's Scientific Map – well-crafted songwriting blended with more cosmic touches, and coming off unlike anything we've ever heard before! At some points, the set's got a straightforward drive that makes you think it's going for a bit of a crossover indie vibe – but at others, there's a much deeper soul that comes into play – and the shift between the two modes really keeps things interesting – especially given the lean production, and nice touch of fuzz on the keyboards and guitar!

Power to the Babies ICR004

Produced by acclaimed house/electronica artist Anthony Nicholson, the debut recording by Chicago genre-busters Scientific Map is a bold statement of the New Chicago Sound.

Moving between Afrobeat, funk, fusion, hip hop, new groove, nu-jazz, psychedelia and R&B, Power to the Babies could only have been recorded in Chicago. Its stylistic fluency is a result of the varied artistic demands placed on musicians in such a culturally diverse city.

Bandleader/guitarist Matt Hudson describes the musical vision of the new album: "We're now experiencing the end of genre. Information from around the world is travelling to us so quickly that we're constantly exposed to new cultural and musical ideas. Musicians can't help but be influenced by this. If they're open-minded enough, the result is a cohesive, genreless sound that is fresh and new."

Throughout the album, Matt Hudson's playing demonstrates an innovative and nuanced re-imagining of jazz guitar that is influenced as much by Wes Montgomery as by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood. This stylistic diversity is reflected in the range of guest artists featured throughout, including rock'n'roll saxophonist Aaron Getsug (Hi-Fi & the Roadburners) and Pittsburgh R&B vocalist Gene Stovall.

Praise for Power to the Babies:

Power to the Babies brings together funk, house and jazz influences to produce an album that grooves hard with a healthy dose of creative improvisation. The quartet of Will Baggett (bass), Dave Holloway (keys), Matt Hudson (guitar) and Anthony Reid (drums) lay down some seriously funky grooves on every track with a tasteful amount of jazz fusion soloing thrown in for good measure. Melding all of these genres together, Power to the Babies is a cornucopia of groove and melody that is both danceable and intellectually stimulating at the same time. (+)

Most of the soloing on the album is handled by guitarist Hudson and keyboardist Holloway. Each has their own distinct approach to improvising that plays well off of each other, while at the same time adding new dimensions to the vibe of each tune. Hudson's soloing contains elements of blues, rock, jazz and fusion. He is constantly weaving in and out of varying degrees of dissonance, such as his solo on "Day Dream Johnny," where he alternates blues based bends and streams of highly chromatic runs that act as the yin to the blues' yang lines. Holloway on the other hand, draws more from the '70s funk era with a tip of his hat to the likes of Herbie Hancock and Joe Zawinul in his lines, effects and feel. Never crossing the line into the realm of imitation, he is able to thread his influences through his playing while keeping them personal and unique. Which is as commendable as it is musically enjoyable.

The album also features some excellent guest work by several great musicians. One of the highlights of the album is the horn work of Matt Cashdollar and Aaron Getsug on "Wisefoot." The funky horn lines during the tune's melody section are perfectly intonated, rhythmically deep in the pocket and so tight that it often sounds as if they are being played by one person. Getsug also delivers a very enjoyable solo on the tune. Where others may have chosen to rely on chops and flash on a groove like this, Getsug digs deep into the time and lays down simple, yet highly effective, riffs that are the perfect interlude for a tune like this.

Power to the Babies delivers a hefty dose of groove and creativity on every track. The strength of the album lies in the ability of the musicians to stay true to their funk tendencies without becoming monotonous or losing themselves in the music.

Straight-ahead dancing funk with a beat that just won't quit. The ten tracks, culled from a year's worth of sessions, are full of grooving bass lines, fatback drums, hip key board textures, R'n'B-flavored guitar, plus the occasional guest horn solo. Tightly performed and full of spirit.

Illinois Entertainer
Guitarist Matt Hudson leads Scientific Map through an adventurous collection of songs that deftly combine jazz fusion and techno on the band's debut, Power to the Babies. Most of these tracks are instrumental, and even the vocals on the haunting "Merlin's Bride" and futuristic "Carpenters in Forehead" flow through the arrangements as opposed to leading them. Likewise Hudson's guitar playing (most prominent on "Port de Patois") melds perfectly with the talents of the other musicians.

Dusty Groove
A great collaboration between Matt Hudson and Anthony Nicholson – underground grooves from the current Chicago scene, served up with even more cosmic elements than Nicholson's better-known work! The beats are often quite raw and acoustic sounding, and they're topped not just with the usual keys, but also some heavy guitar too – sometimes a bit fuzzy, which gives the record a nice edge – and which further seems to push the rhythms away from the obvious. There's a bit of vocals on the set, but most of the focus is instrumental. The album's got a tremendous amount of musical depth.