3 High, Plain
4 Chug Up, Chug Down
6 Jimmy Runs Home
8 Boca Del Cielo
9 Friendly Reminder
Mandrake is a 9 track album of cinematic chamber music by composer and multi-instrumentalist Rael Jones (Thumpermonkey), written for string quintet, piano and acoustic guitars.
The album blends a wide range of influences and genres. The French Impressionistic movement and composers such as Bela Bartok and Igor Stravinsky can be heard in the harmonic and rhythmic backbone of the pieces, but the approach to structure draws more from Minimalism and Film Music.
Films themselves play a large part in the concept for the work; the inspiration for the movements comes from different movies that have special emotional significance to the composer. The opening track 'Lacuna' is named after the LTD company in 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' that erases people's memories for a fee. In reference to the final climax of the film, the music attempts to convey the passage through memories as they are lost, until nothing remains but silence (lacuna). Similarly, 'Silflay' is a time for coming above ground and grazing in the rabbit language of 'Watership Down', represented in the pastoral, skittish and happy nature of the piece. 'Boca Del Cielo' is the name of the Mexican beach that the characters in 'Y Tu Mamá También' travel to. The track draws on the passion, sex and death in the film, whilst also incorporating Hispanic influences. The album itself is named after the Mandrake plant, because of its appearance in 'Pan's Labyrinth' (and to a lesser extent the Harry Potter franchise); the hallucinogenic and magical properties associated with it fit well with the album as a whole. The artwork ties into this too; the composer captured in a blurred, hypnotised trance.