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Mop Mop recently released an album which deserves your undivided attention. Mop Mop, the brainchild of Italian born & Berlin based drummer and percussionist Andrea Benini, mix an exotic blend of driving rhythms with voodoo jazz, Caribbean flavors, Afro-funk and soul music. Their fourth record, Isle of Magic, is available now on Agogo Records. Recorded over the course of a couple of years, Isle of Magic features a strong sense of continuity which escapes a lot of modern records. With a seven-piece band and ten special guests, Mop Mop’s wide variety of instruments create a musical world unlike anything you’ve heard before.
Isle of Magic is an imaginary land populated by musicians who spend their time fishing, cooking, playing and practicing voodoo rites at night. The whole album represents the soundtrack of this imaginary life.
This fictitious land feels authentic. Thanks to the analog recording techniques used on this album, the band seems like they are performing just for the listener. Each track on the record develops the mysterious aura that surrounds this Isle of Magic. The group does a fine job building up each track with extensive percussion from bendir to udu. Roots rhythms set each sonic adventure in motion with a supporting cast of co-arranger Alex Trebo (piano), Pasquale Mirra (vibraphone & marimba), Guglielmo Pagnozzi (clarinet & flute), Johannes Schleiermacher (baritone sax), Lorenzo Ternelli (bass), Salvatore Lauriola (bass) and Danilo Mineo (percussion) to name a few.
Some notable guests include Trinidad-born poet/singer Anthony Joseph, Finnish-Egyptian vocalist Sara Sayed and funk pioneer Fred Wesley, whose trombone work on “Run Around” is fantastic. Joseph assumes the role of narrator for the isle and his free-flowing verse shines on “Let I Go” and “Heritage.” Isle of Magic demands repeat listens and over the course of thirteen tracks sets the scene of a majestic island lost between the past and the present where musical boundaries are non-existent. Listen to the album sampler above and check out the promo video below.