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"Review by Ted Drozdowski"

You’re on the deck of the U.S.S. Enterprise, and – let’s fly old school – Captain Kirk has just given the order: “warp speed.” Time bends and you blast past planets, stars, solar systems, to arrive in a thrilling, exotic place you’ve never been before.
The New Cartographers take you on the same kind of wild ride, exploring brave new musical worlds and bending concepts like looping and melody to their own virtuosic ways.
“Our music is like a journey,” says Victor McSurely, the guitar playing half of this Boston-based duo. “We believe in adventure, and when we begin to play, we never know where the destination will be.”
True to their name and their inclinations, McSurely and drummer Michael Petrucci map out fresh territory, using rock improvisation and textural sonics to define a terrain rich in sweeping beauty, daring in scope, and bristling with creative energy.
Recording in Roslindale, Massachusetts’ Big Big Studios with an analog tape machine, vintage plate and spring reverbs, a sampler, and a handful of stomp boxes, they create what McSurely playfully calls “retro sounds for the future.”
You can hear those sounds at and the band’s on-line indie music store Songs like “The Lion Heart” evolve into epic cathedrals, starting with the raw mortar of a few effects-dappled notes from McSurely’s guitar and a spray of drum-and-cymbal patter from Petrucci. It’s as if Fripp & Eno joined forces with Elvin Jones.
“A Close Insanity” travels quickly to a darker place, with Petrucci, a/k/a “Trucci,” smacking out a rock beat that takes lurching twists while McSurely makes his Stratocaster moan like the cry of a lost muezzin.
“A Taste of Sunshine” is a different kind of beast — sweet and free-spirited with a happily melodic pop heart. And then there’s the drum pun’d “Riding on the Crash of Doom,” where Trucci and McSurely surf waves of improvisational bliss and bare-knuckled brawl for 35 minutes.
“This is the most honest music I’ve ever played,” says Trucci. “We enter the studio without any preconceptions and withhold any analysis, and we go for it. And whatever hits the tape is literally who we are that day.”
“Recording directly to tape helps keep the music honest,” explains McSurely. “There’s a sense of commitment. We don’t overdub or retake, so there’s no second-guessing. And the goal is to edit what we record and post it as quickly as possible. So the communication between us and our listeners is direct and unfiltered, which is utterly unlike the industry’s model for making music – to spend a year in the studio polishing and polishing with ProTools until you’ve made your masterpiece.”
The truth is McSurely and Trucci don’t need frills to make brilliant music. They’re simply astonishing players. They met in the band of Boston’s Blue Man Group troupe, and the New Cartographers emerged from a jam before a Blue Man performance in 2007.
“It was clear to both of us during that warm-up that we had a telepathic musical communication,” says McSurely.
Nonetheless, they have vastly different musical backgrounds. Trucci began studying big band jazz drumming at age eight, digesting the sounds of rock ‘n’ roll as he went along, and eventually moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music. He also learned West African drumming with master percussionist Martin Obeng. When he’s not playing with New Cartographers or Blue Man Group, he holds the drum seat in the heavy rock outfit King of Salem.
McSurely’s ears have been attuned to textural music since he was a kid. Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, the Beatles, Talking Heads, Santana and Jimi Hendrix — all reasonable reference points for the New Cartographers — were part of his earliest diet, even while he was learning the chords to tunes like Neil Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand” on his first acoustic guitar. But then McSurely took the radical step of joining Fripp’s Guitar Craft program. Under Fripp’s instruction, McSurely’s musicianship became formidable, free ranging and disciplined, setting him on the path to playing Chapman Stick in the Blue Man band. He’s also studied with drum genius Bob Moses and led Boston art-pop group the Sweepers.
But it’s with Trucci’s drums and his own Stratocaster and stomp boxes that McSurely has found his musical heart. “When we play together we make common decisions about the way the music needs to go as if we’re breathing the sounds we’re creating,” McSurely says. “And those decisions always let the music grow harmonically and melodically.
“It’s so simple — and so good — that it’s hard to believe.”
- critic at large


All of The New Cartographers Recordings can be found on Big Big Record's download site CoffeeBreakJams

Their page is here:

samples of all recordings are available on each song's page.

samples also stream off of TNC's myspace page here:

Their podcast page is here:



The New Cartographers

"We must remember that art is art.
Well, on the other hand water is water isn't it?
And east is east and west is west.
And if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce
they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does.
Now uh... you tell me what you know."

-Groucho Marx

The New Cartographers grew out of the relationship between Michael Petrucci and Victor McSurely that formed while playing hundreds of shows together during their years at Blue Man Group in Boston. The two have a natural musical chemistry and adeptness which allows an enormous variety of music to unfold. While they work at Blue Man and have long since paid their dues in various acclaimed rock bands, both are deeply versed in non-western approaches to music, Michael through his work with West African drum master Martin Obeng and international musician Jamey Haddad, and Victor with his decades of work in Guitar Craft under Robert Fripp and his brief but life changing lessons with percussionist Bob Moses.

"Anyone who tells a lie has not a pure heart, and cannot make a good soup."

-Ludwig van Beethoven

Begun as an improvisational recording project in the spring of 2007 both Victor and Michael were surprised at how music spontaneously unfolded. While they could hear influences reaching back even to their childhood, there was also much that they'd never heard - or had even heard come out of themselves. There was something in the combination of their work which was demanding new ways of hearing and playing while calling upon all their strengths as well. They were also surprised by the level of musical challenge brought out through working with each other. In the end, perhaps the most interesting facet of The New Cartographers is that they don't actually know what they are doing. This is because they are much too focused on doing it, even in the quiet parts.

"There is in Persian literature a poem by Hafiz who tells us that,
when God commanded the soul to enter the human body, which is made of clay, the soul refused.
Then angels were asked to sing and on hearing the angels sing
the soul entered the body which it had feared to be a prison.
It is a philosophy which is poetically expressed in this story.
Hafiz remarked: 'People say that on hearing the song the soul entered into the body,
but in reality the soul itself was song'."

-Hazrat Inayat Khan

The New Cartographers have ongoing recording projects at Victor's analog studio and over 7 hours of material which is available from their label's website

For more information please listen to the samples, buy a download (they are super cheap), or contact Booking{at}