Vocalist and songwriter Nicola Hitchcock and Saul Freeman Ex-Thieves joined forces in the mid-nineties to form Mandalay, signed to V2 Records and released three albums. Mandalay's debut album "Empathy" release in 1998. In 2000, Mandalay release their second album "Instinct". In 2001, "Solace" a two disc album released exclusively in the US. Disc one of the album Solace included a mix of tracks from the albums Empathy and Instinct and disc two remix tracks with contributions from several artists including Nitin Sawhney, Wagon Christ, Futureshock, Alex Reece, Calderone and Charlie May.
Incorporating guest musicians Jon Hassell and Steve Jansen (Japan), Freeman's intimate, pristine production and Hitchcock's heartbreaking vocal performances earned the duo props throughout the latter part of the decade in their native U.K., specifically with the albums Empathy and Instinct.