The Spy from Cairo (aka Moreno “Zeb” Visini) returns with his 5th studio album on Wonderwheel Recordings: “Animamundi” features some special collaborations from his travels & live shows from over the past few years. The album reflects the move from his home in NYC to his mother’s home in a quiet village in Italy to take care of her in her older age. It’s been a difficult transition with Italy’s challenging experience with the pandemic, including some of the strictest measures enforced on the public. He recalls by stating “This album was conceived between 2020 and 2021 in Italy, between lockdowns, restrictions, and various pandemic mandates. Its message is of hope and positivity – a reminder that we are all spiritual beings… Free spiritual beings… and that freedom can’t be broken.”
“Animamundi” is a reconfirmation that The Spy from Cairo overcomes all obstacles & delivers a diverse progression of his iconic “Arabadub” sound, with the help of collaborators like Andalucian vocalist Carmen Estevez, Mexican vocalist Mambe Rodriguez on the heavy hitting “Criminal,” Egyptian vocalist Adii Small on “Beautiful Baraka,” and former touring band member, the multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Fatima Gozlan from Hungary. The music can vary from heavy deep electronic synths and live eastern instrumentation with Zeb playing oud, saz, chiftelli, bass, percussion, and other instruments, all along giving it his signature dub mixing style.
The songs take inspiration from a wide range of musical traditions and cultures, including Turkish (on “Cosmic Pasha,” “Qanun in Dub” – using the qanun, an instrument popular across the Middle East, with a sound between the European harp and a dulcimer – and “Black Sea,” which utilises a typical Dabke melody), Egyptian (“Mizmirized,” sampling riffs from a mizmar), Indian (“Seeds of Culture), and Sufi (“Divination,” a devotional composition), fusing these reference points with healthy doses of cumbia, funk, reggae, psychedelic, and dub. Thematically, “Animamundi” deals with some of the struggles Zeb – and all of us – have faced the last two years, through the lens of his personal experiences. Yet, the tone of the record manages to remain positive, like an uplifting dance through the world’s sounds; after all, “Animamundi” means “soul of the world” in Greek. With album art by Sam Angeli and layout design by Marcial Arts, this beautiful album is a truly well-rounded worldwide collaboration.