Premiere: “Kololi Under the Moon” by Populous

Using field recordings, the Italian producer builds a dance reverie for new compilation album Senegambia

Florence, Italy-based label Voodoo Rebel proposed an interesting challenge to 11 producers around the world. During trips to Senegal and Gambia, label founder Leonard P walked around holding his panoramic mic and smartphone to take field recordings: from the hustle and bustle of the streets and homes, to concerts and communal events, and the quieter sounds of nature. Each of the 11 selected producers then sampled their favorite parts from the recordings to build danceable tracks for the compilation album Senegambia. Today, CH premieres Populous’ standout effort, “Kololi Under the Moon.” (Kololi is a town in Gambia.) It’s a great fit for the Italian producer—aka Andrea Mangia—whose 2014 tribal electropop album Night Safari also heavily used field recordings taken abroad.

“This track features a single field recording (captured with a smartphone) of a family [in] Casamance playing Kora and drums,” Populous tells CH. “I chose to sample it because those cyclic melodies held a soft magic: a reminder of a dancehall on the beach on a full moon night, and that special light gleaming on the sand and the ocean.

I live in Salento, a place usually defined as ‘the Jamaica of Italy,’ mostly because during the ’90s, dancehall beach parties were very popular here and I can say I grew up going to those ‘illegal’ gatherings. So I was delighted to recreate that atmosphere with a different take rather than using the original reggae and dance stylistic elements, fusing that field recording into my own idea of rhythm.” Completely danceable, the track feels grounded in presence and connection, thanks to the chatter of conversation supporting the intricate rhythms and vigorous energy—but Populous adds his own touch of reverie.

Senegambia will release early June. We also definitely recommend listening to “Brasilia,” off of Populous’ Night Safari and watching the equally hypnotic music video.

Portrait courtesy of Corrado Murlo