This is a Perfect Phenomenal Duo !
Arish | PhOenix , aZ | 01/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I thought I had heard every type of great music there was to hear until I heard this group. This group is amazing the have a unique blend of Pop, Trip Hop with a little dab Hip Hop. Saul is a production Guru /Genius! and you add Nicola's lyrics and shivering vocals, it was untouchable. Mandalay is by far most, my favorite Trip Hop Band. There isn't anything missing with this group. I have everything they have ever made including the B-sides. Once I heard "This Life" on "The Next Best Thing" Sountrack I was petrified ! I went and haunted everything they ever made and payed whatever the cost was. There B-side collection is off the chain! Not even the throw away (B-side) tracks lacked any production or lyrical value. "Instinct" is the second lp they composed before the amazing duo called it quits. Its was beautiful as well, abit different but equal in quality. "Instinct" showcases a more mature Mandalay a lot more laid back but creative. "It's enough Now" is the masterpiece on "Instinct". "Solace" is nothing more than a U.S greatest hits. Trust me, It doesn't fully illustrate "Mandalays" full talent. Everything this band put their hands on was magic and amazing. Don't Hesitate to purchase their material at all, Trust me you won't be disapointed. I was extremley hurt when Nicola e-mailed me and told me they had called it quits. She now works with DJ Teisto. You will find her on a song called "In My Memory" but the magic isn't the same. Saul, I believe now does movie scores and instrumentals of some sort. Boy, what a waste of great talent. I was hoping they stayed together forever because it could have only gotten better. If you are interested in a similiar group try "Airlock"-Drystar they are the closest I have heard to this. Also "Madonna's Bedtime stories Lp" is some what reminisent of their sound. I can go on and on about this group but until you experience it, you will not know what you have missed. I have played this band to all nationalities and everyone saw what I saw in it. Nicola hates when I call her music Trip Hop! She refers to it as sophisticated Pop! But trust me this music is miles ahead of POP in my opinion that would be an insult. The beats are futuristic and extremley unique and well put together. When you hear the Slamin' Hip Hop Drums with a touch of Drum N'Bass with the Computer effects? You will feel me on this... and understand the wrath of Saul Freeman. 1. Empathy *****
2. Instinct *****
3. Solace (U.S Greatest Hits) ****
4. And if you can find the singles with the B-sides definitley Do so!"
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 11/29/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
""You couldn't even bring yourself/ To stay, oh no/You had to go," Nicola Hitchcock sings accusingly in "Empathy," the fourth and final release by British trip-hop group Mandalay. Sounding a bit like a dreamier version of Portishead, "Empathy" is enchantingly smooth music coupled with Hitchcock's breathy vocals.
It starts off with the string-led ballad "This Life," before heading off into softer, dreamier territory, such as the trippy, sensuous "Flowers Bloom" ("Kisses my shoulder/Cradles his body/Behind mine/Shin to toe to thigh to mind..."), the airy piano ballad "Insensible," and the wistful "Beautiful." Only a few have sharper electronic sounds, like the bouncy trip-hop "Kissing the Day."
"Empathy" leans a bit more on the trip-hop than the pop edge, with a bit of symphonic grandeur mixed in with the horns and strings (or electronic approximations of them). This is definitely music to slow-dance to -- the sweet tone and abundance of love songs demands it.
Hitchcock's voice is the centerpiece of Mandalay. Her singing is a bit trembly and very sweet, like a lost child; the wispy vocals in "Insensible" add to the feel of frightened innocence. And her songs are well-suited -- they're a bit high-school-love-poetry in their simplicity, but they are quite pretty, especially when they stay simple. "Do you know you're beautiful?/You are, yes you are, you are," has an oddly touching resonance.
But if Hitchcock is the centerpiece, then Saul Freeman's electronic production is the flowers that cover the centerpiece. He manages a downtempo, almost jazzy sound, but switches over to soundscapes that stop just short of being epic, and the cascading electronica of "Kissing the Day." Samples of church bells are patched in, and what sounds like muted brass and violins.
Mandalay left on a high note in "Empathy" a truly beautiful album that seems all the more poignant because it was their last. Beautiful, mellow and sweet, this is a definite must-listen."
Soul Bird | 10/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The voice of Mandalay sounds like Everything But The Girl, but with more vibrato, and it has tasty pop/chill/hip-hop arrangements, which makes this CD a total winner! Perfect for mellowing out, this is a deep and rich recording that will show off your system. If you'd like dreamy type, catchy music with beautiful vocals then this one's for you!"