Saturday, 19 February 2011

From the Top Drawer VI - Mandorla Mu

Coming from a slightly different musical angle this time, although these folks started out playing at some of the same venues and stages as many of the other bands posted here - indeed I was introduced to their amazing music when I saw them playing at a Club Dog night at The George Robey in Finsbury Park.

Band member Stephen Kent has since gone on to pursue a successful solo career and to play with many of the luminaries of the loosely termed 'world music' scene as well as electronic pioneers like Spacetime Continuum and Steve Roach, Kenneth Newby has also played with Steve Roach and has issued several albums under his own name, and Eddie Sayer has featured on many electro-acoustic collaborations.

They started out playing in Camden Lock Market in London calling themselves 'Mandorla Mu' and only later through a mistake in a WOMAD appearance billing did they change their name accordingly to carry on as 'Lights In A Fat City'. Their first cassette issue from 1986(?), still credited to Mandorla Mu and basically a demo tape representation of that Camden era, is what I'm posting here today. You can find the story of their early days in London on Stephen Kent's site here.

This is a fantastic mixture of traditional didjeridu music, bamboo flute, assorted ethnic percussion and other instruments, which on some tracks receive electronic treatment to transport the listener to places far beyond. Their first album as Lights In A Fat City which came out on These Records in 1988 was called 'Somewhere' and was supposedly 'the first contemporary release of didjeridu music in the northern hemisphere' - well worth tracking down, as are all their subsequent projects.

The tape has been ripped as two side-long tracks @320 kbps and the individual tunes are listed on the artwork below.



 Help yourself to the sounds HERE


  1. I've never come across any mention of this release before. Their album "Somewhere" is a masterpiece. Looking forward to hearing their 'roots'. Many thanks.


    1. You're very welcome Brian.
      Yes, this is somewhat of a rarity that I was lucky enough to pick up in the 1980s (mail order? I forget) around the same time I got my own copy of 'Somewhere' on LP.

  2. Wow!! Thank you for the audio esoterica from the USA. Kudo's for keeping the unique flame of good hybrid styles of "un-mainstream" music alive!!!!

  3. Thanks for visiting the blog Greg - just doing my bit to make these somewhat forgotten gems available again in the digital realm.

  4. I have seen "Lights In A Fat City" a few times in Holland.(Nijmegen)
    Oeps I'am getting old.
    It was in the early 80's. And till then I play there music maybe once every 2 month.
    I believe that where the good old days.

    Thank you for there music

  5. Hi Gobbledygook,
    Is there any chance that you would consider selling your copy of Mandorla Mu's LIGHTS IN A FAT CITY? I would dearly love to have it (I am a friend of Stephen Kent and would like to give it to him).


  6. Hi Again Gobbledygook,
    Do you happen to have a copy of Spirit People's SIMPLE HARMONIC MOTION? Same reason as above.