An unusual afro-european melange with a fabulous sound Isle of Magic is the sonic result of Mop Mop founder Andrea Benini’s vision of an island of musicians. It varies in style quite dramatically, the first four tracks have a heavy african influence and the voice of Trinidad poet/singer Anthony Joseph whose conscious lyrics give them a character not usually associated with this type of music. The release describes the music as voodoo-jazz, afro-funk and soul but fortunately in most instances only one of these names fits each individual piece.
Mop Mop consists of Benini on guitar and drums, Alex Trebo on piano, Pasquale Mirra on vibes and marimba, Guglielmo Pagnozzi on sax, clarinet and flute, Bruno Briscik on bass and Danilo Mineo on percussion. They are assisted by trombonist Fred Wesley who paid his dues with James Brown and Funkadelic among others and Sara Syed, a Finnish-Egyptian singer who delivers the more conventional soul quotient.
The juiciest funk is delivered in the instrumental passages where the orchestra of contributing musicians builds up a richly varied vibe that sounds gorgeous.This is a very warm and organic sounding album and I wasn’t surprised that it had been recorded in analogue, what was less expected is that it was done with vintage electronics, which is never the easy nor economical way to make a record but the results speak for themselves. At its best with Joseph’s voice this is the best sounding digital release of 2013 so far, the fact that it also includes good music makes it pretty much essential.