4/15/15

Mandala's MIDNIGHT TWILIGHT: 18 Years in the Making


MANDALA, The Band

Rhys Marsh — voice, guitar, mellotron, sitar, rhodes, rebab, pedal steel

Francis Booth — bass guitar
Will Spurling — drums, percussion, tablas

with:
Anna Giddey — violin
Natalie Rozario — cello
Peter Keserue — harmonium

Coming out May 5 is Mandala’s album, MIDNIGHT TWILIGHT on Norway’s Autumnsongs Records (distributed by MVD in North America).

Mandala's debut album, MIDNIGHT TWILIGHT, is an exhilarating combination of Western and Eastern folk music, mixed with heavier forms of progressive rock, all wrapped in an early-‘70s glow.

Mandala was formed in London in 1997, by Rhys Marsh (voice, guitar), Francis Booth (bass) and Will Spurling (drums). Their plan was to create music that represented all things analog, specifically their love of valves, vinyl and VU meters. They wore flares and large-collared shirts with pride, quickly becoming one of the most talked about bands in the college, performing regularly in the weekly foyer, on TV shows and in end of year productions.

By 2005, they had a new sound that encompassed violin and cello, which they presented at concerts across the UK and North America. They recorded and self-released two EPs — one showcasing their ability to rock out, albeit this time with a string section, and the other showcasing their acoustic material. The sound was penned by The Guardian newspaper as “Folk Noir.” At this time also, Mandala’s music was attracting the attention of fans in Scandinavia through MySpace.

The group played hundreds of concerts, though never recorded a full album. In 2006, they decided to call it a day. The band members ended up pursuing other musical projects, Rhys Marsh even moving to Norway to begin a successful musical career there. They remained friends — in fact, in the years between 2006 and 2012, they had grown even closer as friends.

In 2012, the ideas for getting back together were sparked, and in 2014 the band flew to Norway — heading to Autumnsongs Recording Studio in Trondheim. For 10 days they were accommodated in the Autumnsongs building — a solid concrete bunker, with no windows. The time of day quickly became irrelevant, as they set up in the studio to record in the truest way they could: live, together in the same room, surrounded by room mics and lava lamps, allowing the instruments to bleed over each others' tracks. They only time they ventured outside was for dinner, which always ended up being a barbecue, on the mountain next to the studio, during the hours of the MIDNIGHT TWILIGHT.   

From the first playback, they were blown away by the sounds that came through the monitors. They were even tighter as a band than they had been years before. Suddenly, it felt as though the three of them had grown so much as people and musicians that they were able to fully express the songs as they should be heard.

MIDNIGHT TWILIGHT has been 18 years in the making. We hope you agree that it's been worth the wait.

Critics’ responses:

Album Cover for Mandala's MIDNIGHT TWILIGHT.
“Folk-noir”
The Guardian

“Knife-edge atmospheres & Eastern-tinged melodies”
The Independent

“Haunting atmospherics, with an icy edge.”
Time Out

“Atmospheric romanticism”
The Metro

“As if Jeff Buckley met Radiohead in a subterranean cellar”
Musician Magazine

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