Mandrake Project

Mandrake Project


The Mandrake sound is characterized by unpredictable and eccentric investigations into jazz, classical, world-beat, psychedelic and ambient rock. The music is entirely self-reliant with vocal absence, but smears heavy layers of sound and rhythm into complex and sometimes repetitive soundscapes.



So what exactly is the MANDRAKE PROJECT? People ask all the time. Aside from the fabled magic root, popular 60's comic magician, and computer operating system, the project exists as an eccentric musicians collective from Pittsburgh, Pa. This 6-piece band (of sorts) is composed of strange visitors, current (and past) members from several Pittsburgh bands as well as members of other interesting and influential bands such as: (THE POLYPHONIC SPREE, THE OUTSIDE ROYALTY, THE BOOGIE HUSTLERS, JENS LEKMAN, VIETNAM, SOMA MESTIZO, BEAM, JON CHECK, HALOS GRACE, etc...with more appearing all the time...)

The bizarre common thread among members is most certainly the projects repertoire. Each member's scope of interest varies widely. There is no common goal for a sound, as the Mandrake Sound can take on many aspects of many styles while maintaining cohesion. It can be the soundtrack for many situations. Surprisingly, it all sounds like Mandrake regardless of the genre mish-mashing and member sharing. Even more puzzling is exactly whose playing what, and when theyre playing it. The members tend to switch instrumentation within or between song structures creating a barrage of dynamic sonic interplay. Staple Mandrake sound is based largely around RHYTHM. The project relies heavily on drumming and percussion, sometimes with all 6 members convening to participate in group percussive numbers. The normal Mandrake setup exists with 2 drum kit players, 2 guitarists, violin, bass, Chapman Stick, percussion and sampling/sequencing. This however, is subject to change at any given time. Lets now introduce the gentlemen responsible for all this cacophony:

KIRK SALOPEK- Guitars, Gadgets, Loops, Percussives
DAVID CHAPMAN JAMISON- Drums, Chapman Stick, Moog, Percussives
RYAN SCIENCE- Guitars, Saxophone
ANTHONY PECORA- Bass Guitar, Drums, Percussives
BENJAMIN ZERBE- Drums, Percussives
RICK NELSON- Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass, Auxiliary Implementation.
DARNELL ANDERSON-satellite- Saxophone

After a few demonstration recordings and the partial scoring of an independent film release, the month of May 2005 began work on the first full length Mandrake Project album.

A FAVOR TO THE MUSE collaborated a massive amount of music and musicians. With 12 satellite guests joining the band and a 35 piece choir, the size of the project grew beyond initial aspiration. Drum tracking began at AAM STUDIOS with Skip Sanders. The project then resorted to weeks of location tracking with cello, violin and viola being recorded in Austin, TX, and guitars, violin, and percussion being recording in various Pittsburgh locations. The remaining sessions of tracking and mix down were handed to King Larry Luther at MR. SMALLS recording facility. The sessions lasted into December of 2005, and anticipations were initially set for a spring 2006 release, however the album was not finally completed and released until September 2006. Lineup changes made late in the recording process added Rick Nelson and Ryan Science as a new and permanent force to carry the album to its final stages.

The album sits heavy in atmospheric soundscapes, lush string arrangements and complex guitar trickery. It also holds surprises around every corner of its track listing as genres and styles suddenly appear, disappear and blend together.

Now complete, A FAVOR TO THE MUSE will hopefully deliver what weve always intended to the listening audience. Our utmost honor goes out to some of the great talent that has assisted in the creation of FAVOR TO THE MUSE: Rick Nelson (the POLYPHONIC SPREE, JENS LEKMAN, VIETNAM, ST. VINCENT), Jim Dispirito (former RUSTED ROOT, BIG WORLD), jazz man and amp guru Rick Struzzi, members of THE OUTSIDE ROYALTY, Jesse Prentiss (former RSTA), and the fantastic BOOGIE HUSTLERS horn section and keys.

It is also our hope that positive change, dynamism, and spontaneous creation will lead the music into further reaches. Thank you for investigating the Mandrake Project, and frequently stop back to WWW.MANDRAKEPROJECT.COM or WWW.MYSPACE.COM/MANDRAKEPROJECT for updates and additions.


"Never Going Back #7" Soundtrack -(unreleased)
"A Favor to the Muse"

Set List

Typical set list consists of 8-11 songs, which offers 45 minutes, or up to an hour and a half.