Here at the RUST Magazine offices we’ve been listening to, and appreciating, a great new offering from NYC-based chamber-pop group Mappa Mundi. It’s a 6-song themed EP entitled At Sea, and it’s a great collection of noir compositions examining the subtleties of being lost at sea… practically or interpretively. It’s heartfelt, complex music with layers of emotion and it gets our total recommendation. It reminds us a lot of The Dowry whose album The Circus and the Sea similarly builds on vintage nautical ideas, but for Mappa Mundi the focus is on artist teamwork and taking ideas into unique spaces.
“In its earlier incarnations, Mappa Mundi experimented with a lot of the traditional elements that make up rock or chamber pop. For example, we started out playing with the idea of a rock band without guitars,” says Mappa Mundi’s creative center Adam Levine. “Walking that fine line between chamber music and rock was an interesting challenge for us at the time. Eventually when we did add guitars it opened up all of these new worlds of sound for us to explore and incorporate from rock and Americana as well as classical music.” At Sea is the band’s second EP (with guitars this time) and there’s been a good amount of development since their 2010 6-song EP, And In This Way We Come Unmoored…. “It’s hard for me to describe what Mappa Mundi sounds like because we’ve all grown and changed over the past couple of years. Where I used to say that we were chamber pop, a lot of our recent stuff has really been in the realm of alt-folk or Americana. Things are constantly changing for everyone in the band and I think right now we’re all in this really positive, growing phase.”
Sharing a name with Maroon 5’s front man can confuse people, he admits. “I remember when I was playing horn in an orchestra for this Off-Broadway show and somehow some people from Maroon 5’s fan club got wind of it and started blogging about it. I thought it was kind of funny that anybody would think that Maroon 5’s Adam Levine would be playing trumpet in the pit orchestra of an Off-Broadway show. When I told this to the producer he thought we might as well go with it and see if it brought any extra people to the show.”
Orchestra gigs aside, what Adam and Mappa Mundi does, and does very well, is to craft themed music with complexity and individuality. Together with a few misfit friends, Adam has found an admirable focus and space much like The Dowry did a few years ago. Both groups of artists have found a voice for the longing we have today by exploring themes from another time and place. And that’s what makes this music so special. It’s classic. It’s timeless and it expresses itself on it’s own terms, not catering to fads or current sounds.
If you’re thirsting for new music with depth and relevance, get more info at: http://www.mappamundiband.com/