Premiere: Mappe Of Breathes Life & Cryptic Beauty into Mystic Song “Unkno”

Mappe Of © Matt Barnes
Mappe Of © Matt Barnes
Mappe Of continues to stun with the gorgeously cryptic “Unkno,” a hauntingly sweet song of separation, distance, and the universality of all things.
Stream: “Unkno” – Mappe Of

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It’s all in pursuit of inciting exploration, imagination and spiritual reflection.

Mappe Of stunned listeners with his debut album two years ago, but the artist’s quest to bring breathtaking musicality to the fore had only just begun. This autumn heralds a new album from the Toronto “ethereal avant-folk” musician, teased out by recent song releases “Ladybird” – previously described as “resonating with the natural beauty and connection of celestial indie folk” – and “Ailynn.” Today sees the unveiling of third single “Unkno,” a gorgeously cryptic song of separation, distance, and the universality of all things. Hauntingly sweet and sonically enriching, “Unkno” reaffirms Mappe Of’s ear for mesmerizing indie folk tapestries.

The Isle of Ailynn - Mappe Of
The Isle of Ailynn – Mappe Of
Cautiously place our heels in the sand
Waiting for someone to greet us
We’ve come bearing gifts
from the civilized world

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Unkno,” the latest single off Mappe Of’s new album The Isle of Ailynn (out November 1, 2019 via Paper Bag Records). In our 2017 feature with the artist born Tom Meikle, Atwood Magazine hailed Mappe Of’s music as a vivid exploration of, in a sense, the act of being:

“Every so often, there emerges an artistry so refreshing that it breathes new life into those who stumble upon it. In the case of Mappe Of’s music, catharsis comes from a deep dive into the core elements of our shared human experience: Mortality, Empathy, Volatility, and the Journey.”

The Isle of Ailynn finds Meikle continuing down his path of self-discovery, while at the same time going back to the drawing board as the artist throws out his musical blueprint and starts largely from scratch. The music centers once again around the sweetness and fragility of his voice, but beyond that the two albums are worlds apart: His new music is a true pastiche, an array of vocalizations, pianos, guitars, violins and cellos, electronic manipulations, and more.

“The first record was, as is the case for many artists, something that slowly took shape over a few years as it gained and lost songs and morphed identities,” Mappe Of tells Atwood Magazine. “As I’m now over the quarter-century mark on this Earth, a lot of change has taken place over the last few years since that record was written, and I like to think I’ve uncovered and accepted more of my identity. I’ve also brought Will Crann on for this upcoming record as co-producer, which has had an immeasurable impact. I tend to use music personally for any purpose I see fit at the time, whether it’s an emotional catharsis or a technical exercise. I love both of those things and everything in between. So I’m on a mission to make both of those things happen simultaneously as much as I can.”

Mappe Of © Matt Barnes
Mappe Of © Matt Barnes

At the heart of “Unkno” lays a lush piano; the soft keys drive Meikle forward as he explores the impact of separation and distance between people. ““Unkno” plays a bit of a unique role as it’s one of three tracks on the record that are more like vignettes than part of an overarching narrative of the record,” the artist explains. “It takes place in the same fictional universe, but on an island far off the mainland of the titular Isle of Ailynn. I feel like it’s an emotional turning point on the record, and it’s the first time I’ve dipped my toes into piano balladry territory… and maybe not the last.”

No startling
No sudden steps
They will be waiting for us
With open arms and sunken chests
Waiting for someone to greet us
They will be waiting for us
Waiting for someone to greet us
They should be waiting for us
All your ancestors have failed you
Left you high and dry
We have come to teach and save you
Bring you towards the light
Waiting for someone to greet us…
have you been waiting for us?

In referencing the canon of his album, Meikle hints at the conceptual nature of his newest music. According to his current bio, The Isle of Ailynn develops its own world in which the artist can explore struggle and frustration, tension and release while letting creativity run wild. “Rather than overwhelm you with a front-toback narrative song cycle, its nine tracks more closely resemble levels in a videogame, each representing a distinct, discrete environment that exists within an overarching ecosystem,” explains his bio. It’s a parallel world to our own, which shares the struggles, vices, and pain we humans experience on a daily basis.

According to the artist, the new album “came less as a decision and more so an onslaught of conceptual ideas, words, landscapes etc. that eventually formed into this fictional world I wanted to build. It’s always been something I’ve loved and identified with in music, so when this thing came to me it only made sense to explore it. I wanted to pursue something that would really challenge my imagination and that of all of the amazing artists I got to collaborate with on this project.”

Mappe Of’s music has been intentionally vague from the get-go, with celestial debut single “Cavern’s Dark” basking in a dreamlike mystery perpetuated by an electro-acoustic blend of sound paired to mystifying lyrics. “Unkno” follows this path of mystique and intrigue, presenting a scenario in which we listeners are encouraged to “fill in the blanks,” so-to-speak; to fully flesh out the song with our own imaginations.

Says Meikle, ““Unkno” explores how violently the barriers of distance, language and culture can separate us when our hearts and minds are closed. The second half of the song features these two distinct vocal lines, one descending and the other ascending, that I like to envision as the two parties in this fictional land having this same core belief, yet somehow manifesting it in nearly opposite ways. All of the lyrics on this record take place from fictional viewpoints. Ultimately, I’m offering up a cryptic story and hoping for people to view it from as many angles as they wish, somewhat in the spirit of mythology and folk tales. It’s all in pursuit of inciting exploration, imagination and spiritual reflection.”

“Unkno” explores how violently the barriers of distance, language and culture can separate us when our hearts and minds are closed.

Tom Meikle’s Mappe Of project continues to be a vessel for musical nuance and experiential depth. What once upon a time might have been a 30-minute prog-rock opus today presents itself in a minimalist frame, where space itself offers as much fuel as do the words themselves. Mappe Of’s sophomore album The Isle of Ailynn is out November 1, 2019 via Paper Bag Records. Stream “Unkno,” out now!

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:: stream/purchase Unkno here ::
Stream: “Unkno” – Mappe Of

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The Isle of Ailynn - Mappe Of

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? © Matt Barnes

Mappe Of’s Tender “Ladybird” Shines with Natural Beauty


Empathy, Volatility, and Avant-Folk with Mappe Of

Mappe Of’s “Cavern’s Dark” Glows with Light of Mystery and Serenity


:: Stream Mappe Of ::

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