Populous is the nom de musique of Lecce, Italy's Andrea Mangia, a multi-instrumentalist/programmer whose work ranges from cerebral pieces to shoegaze-tinged pop to sounds from around the globe.
His 2002 debut, Quipo, introduced his meticulous approach to layering sounds and his fondness for vintage electronics and pioneering electronic music figures such as Raymond Scott
, elements that he embellished with soul, jazz and reggae influences on 2005's Queue for Love. The following year, Mangia played guitar on Pillow's Flowing Seasons album. Released in 2007, the Morr Music
sampler A Number of Small Things reflected Mangia's growing pop sensibilities; that year, one of his Queue for Love songs was used in a JC Penney commercial. His most accessible work yet, 2008's dream pop-influenced Drawn in Basic, featured the vocals of New York-based MC Short Stories
, aka Mike McGuire. Mangia then spent a few years focusing on Life & Limb, another collaboration with McGuire. He returned as Populous for 2014's Night Safari, which incorporated such globetrotting sounds as African chants, Brazilian music, and Krautrock. His sonic travels continued on 2017's Azulejos, a set of songs fashioned from field recordings and vintage albums he discovered while living in Lisbon, Portugal. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi