Mappa Mundi

Mappa Mundi

 Brooklyn, New York, USA
BandFolkRock

Founded by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Adam Levine, Mappa Mundi blends jangly folk, noisy art-rock, and sweet chamber music into something at once Old World and New.

Biography

Mappa Mundi was founded by composer/multi-instrumentalist/singer Adam Levine. Adam washed up on Brooklyn's verdant shore one day, determined to create a new kind of band combining his sundry, far-flung influences. These included folk, Americana, noisy art rock, and classical/contemporary chamber music. Now what initially started as a mad, eclectic experiment has since evolved into something uniquely organic.

It's impossible to view Mappa Mundi in the light of any single influence. Sweet chamber pop meets reedy, bombastic Americana. Jangly folk strumming is punctuated by jagged snarls of electric guitar. Intensely introspective story-songs are belied by steely delivery and Sturm und Drang orchestration. The lush harmonies and broad, sweeping melodies of Romanticism blend with the cascading repetition and interwoven patterns of Minimalism.

Adam formed Mappa Mundi in 2009 by gathering a group of like-minded misfits: talented musicians who were bored by the stuffy old bonds of traditional genres like “rock” or “classical.” They workshopped the project in venues around New York, tinkering with instrumentation, arrangement, and sound through 2011, when they recorded their first EP, And in this Way We Come Unmoored…. Along the way they've been featured at Brooklyn's Northside, Infringement, and Prospect Heights Music Festivals and praised in music blogs The Metaphorical Boat and Sepiachord (amongst others). Now, besides Adam (Voice, Trumpet, Ukulele, Composition/Songwriting), MM's motley band of musical castaways includes Jason Sagebiel, a classically trained guitarist and composer whose own work blends Americana, Rock, and Persian music. Violinist Suzanne Lipkin also brings classical orchestral training as well as experience in chamber pop and musical theater. Bassist Mike Darnell's background ranges from dark folk to goth and punk. Accordionist/harmoniumist Richard Exelbert's work as Maharadjah Sweets blends blues, Americana, and lo-fi electronica. And finally, drummer Matt Moore rounds everything out with rock, jazz, and theatrical experience.

Their new EP, At Sea (January 27th, 2015), was recorded and produced by Adam Levine and Charles Newman of Motherwest Studios (The Magnetic Fields, Cold Blood Club, Aloud). Its title comes from the old nautical term for being lost without bearings, with no sign of land, and each of its six songs explores variations on this theme.

Mappa Mundi has big plans for their unique brand of chamber pop. On the horizon is a full length album of new material as well as a musical entitled Rocket Opera. For a band navigating with such a wide-ranging map, Mappa Mundi's course is clearly set.

Lyrics

So Obscure

Written By: Adam Levine

Every time you leave me,
I hate to see you go.
‘Cause every time you do,
You take the best of me.

No, no more letters.
No meeting of the minds.
There’s just no life with you,
And there’s no life without.

Yeah, you keep me hanging on
To a lyric in a song.
Oh, outside your doorway,
All there is is stone.

None of this is open.
None of this is clear.
All the ways are barred.
Why so obscure?

Oh, always outside!
Oh, always outside!
Oh, always, always...
Oh, always outside!

I’ll sit inside the cloisters,
Of my own design,
Surrounded by the things,
I will never change.

And I’m standing in their doorways,
I’m standing in the rain,
Blood upon the stonework,
Blood upon the frame.

Once I wanted something.
Once I had something to give.
Now it’s all just heartache.
Now it’s all just shame.

Oh, always outside!
Oh, always outside!
Oh, always, always...
Oh, always outside!

Mirabelle

Written By: Adam Levine

I have been lonely for far too long
I have been floating for far too long

And nothing you could say
Could ever make me fall out of love with you
And nothing you could do
Could ever make me come on back to you
Oh, back to you

You are the light that plays upon my walls
You are the light in an otherwise dark world

And nothing you could say
Could ever make me fall out of love with you
And nothing you could do
Could ever make me come on back to you
Oh, back to you

I have been floating in darkness
I don't think the pills are working anymore

And nothing you could say
Could ever make me fall out of love with you
And nothing you could do
Could ever make me come on back to you
Oh, back to you

A Blunt Object, Oh Robert

Written By: Adam Levine

Should have been,
Oh, a poet.
But I have become
A blunt object.

It’s a sin.
Always has been.
To come this far,
Can’t turn back now.

Can’t turn back now.
Can’t turn back.
Can’t turn.

Now I am become death.
Now I am become death.
Now, Oh, I’ve undone the clasp.
Now I am become death.

What’s it worth?
All my work?
Would you had seen
What I’ve seen.

If you could
Crack open the world
Like a locket,
Would you do it?

Would you do it?
Would you do it, oh?
Would you?

Now I am become death.
Now I am become death.
Now, Oh, I’ve undone the clasp.
Now I am become death.

Discography

Set List

Sample Set List: 

  1. So Obscure
  2. Out Here
  3. Mirabelle
  4. Lost
  5. Right
  6. The Larky Life
  7. It Can't Always Be
  8. No More
  9. A Blunt Object, Oh Robert