Mop Mop is an artist who has only come to my personal knowledge of late. Is it not often that I have come across music that grabs my attention so quickly, but yet still leaves me in a sense of bewilderment. The producer describes his work as ‘A bastard performance of modern jazz’ which is harsh to say the least. Whilst i’m still unsure as to what he means by this, I can still vouch for the fact that his work offers an oddly and creatively unique approach to traditional standards of music. Now Mop Mop, although a group, is pioneered and lead by the crafty Italian musician Andrea Benini. He has meandered his way through the Jazz and Afrobeat scene for years now and has built up both an iconic sound and reputation with Mop Mop. Described by themselves as being a mix of Funk, Afro and Jazz, I can’t help but feel that the group are being a little modest on this one. Yes, they do encapsulate every element of these three genres. However, their sound is broad and more than often it stretches far into the depths of dub, the rhythms of reggae and the calmness of sweet calypso music. The fact that their discography extends all the way back to 2005 shows just quite how far they had slipped under my nose as they are still producing to this day and have spun a thick and tangled web of soulful and perplex music just waiting to be explored.
Their most succesful and I have to say, most impressive sounding album has to be the 2013 release ‘Isle Of Magic’. It not only showcases the talents of over fifteen different contributing musicians, it also creates a mindset within itself. For it is not merely an album, it is a world created by Mop Mop. Described as being “An imaginary land populated by musicians who spend their time fishing, cooking, playing and practicing voodoo rites at night;” the album really takes the listener on an unforgettable trip. The songs that make up the album show you each and every aspect the world and what can only be described as hypnotic voodoo-Jazz. If I were to pluck of one of the tracks from this mesmerising album it would have to ‘Kamakumba’. The track has a trance-inducing and spellbinding feel to it, one which almost feels like a ritual within itself. The track is primarily a composition of alluring steel pans; pans which lull the listener before breaking off into a funkier and far more vibrant rendition. Mop Mop’s masterpiece in ‘Kamakumba’ is cool, vivacious and bursting with island flavour. It’s zesty and captivating rhythm leaves you praying for just a moments sunshine so you can draw for the ice cold cocktail and bask in rich, calypso pleasure.
With twelve other tracks on the album, Mop Mop go to extreme lengths to ensure that each one differs from the other. All this differentiating proves to be key in shaping and guiding the listeners on a truly unique and unforgettable journey. Mop Mop’s ‘Isle Of Magic’ is the holiday we all want and need.
Listen & enjoy here –