Italian producer Populous makes his long awaited return to Wonderwheel with the first volume of his 2 part “Moonbaton” series – a collection of darker, instrumental reggaeton & moombahton cuts inspired by the zodiac, magic, and mystery of the universe. Things kick off with “Flauta Magica,” focusing around the clave and a brooding synth line and a dembow style beat interweaving itself with the flute & a little bit of acid vibes for good measure. Next up is “Sapo,” a distant, foreboding track with a monster of a beat & bassline complimenting a childlike fairy tale melody on top.
Populous, aka Andrea Mangia, is a DJ and producer hailing from Lecce, in Southern Italy, known for his global approach to music-making. With a background in musicology, Populous has always been interested in disparate genres and styles of music, which is reflected in the output from the Populous project and its focus on Latin American sounds refracted through a European lens.
In 2003, Mangia made his first jaunt into the music world with the album “Quipo” (via Morr Music), followed by “Queue For Love” in 2005. Influenced by his reggae/hip-hop-infused surroundings (Lecce is known as Italy’s Jamaica, with reggae and dancehall being extremely popular) he released “Drawn in Basic” in 2008, which was well received by international critics, earning him a spot on the global dance music map.
The 2010s have seen Mangia refine the Populous sound with albums like “Night Safari” (Bad Panda Records) and “Azulejos” (Wonderwheel Recordings), while also expanding his role as a sound designer for fashion houses such as Gucci, Vivienne Westwood, Isabel Marant, and Elie Saab, among others. In 2020, Populous released his most mature album to date, “W”, an anthem to femininity in all its facets. “W” (for Women) is an invitation to accept our female side and a way of giving visibility to the issues that are dear to the artist, such as diversity and inclusion, central parts of his LGBTQ+ activist dialectic. In the same year, Populous collaborated with Christine & The Queens for the remix of “La Vita New,” confirming his influence in the queer international underground scene. Being in opposition to the speed of our lives and, consequently, the speed in music, is the starting point of Populous’s latest full length album “Stasi” (english translation: stasis), a record inspired by slow rhythms and by the hypnosis that repetitive sounds can induce.
“Moonbaton Vol. 1” is out on Wonderwheel Recordings July 22nd, with the second volume to follow in August.