On Map Ends, Chris Smith tries out a wide variety of drones. For example, there's "Fake Hand," which sounds like Gas without the thudding bass, then "Replacement," which piles roaring static over a distant drum pattern like New Lands-era Flying Saucer Attack, and finally "The Problem With Trouble," which shares its lumbering, resigned feel with Labradford's E Luxo So. Nothing Smith attempts here is distinctively his, but his skills as a craftsman are finely honed: the empty-city hum of "Brazil" manages to be both haunting and touching, while the theremin-like howl on the epic "Captain, This Is It" is unexpected and compelling. So although Smith hasn't yet emerged from the shadows of his influences, many fans of ambient should enjoy Map Ends anyway. Smith's music is lush and trance-inducing, as most ambient should be.
AllMusic Review by Charlie Wilmoth