Banco de Gaia Does Floyd, Crimson, H'wind

 

Groundbreaking
worldbeat/techno fusioneer drops new CD in Sept. does a pair of rare US
gigs in August.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

It’s been some time since Stateside fans of Britain’s Banco
de Gaia have been privy to the ambient dub legend’s edgy fusion of modern
trance and downtempo techno beats with huge dollops of Tibetan, Eastern and
Arabic and other transcontinental rhythms. Led by mastermind Toby
Marks,
its continually evolving, globally-inspired electronica has
been propelling the masses to dance all over the world. So on
Sept. 22 Banco de Gaia will be celebrating its 20th anniversary with the
release of the double-disc set, Memories Dreams Reflections on
Disco Gecko Recordings (distributed in the U.S. by Super D). Two West Coast
dates have been announced and a full U.S. tour is currently being planned:
August 14 at Social Hollywood in LA, and August 15 at the Beloved festival in
Tidewater, Oregaon.

 

Banco de Gaia’s music crosses genres, sometimes layering
rock, reggae, and trance textures on top of exotic and indigenous melodies,
creating an aural tapestry that is both mesmerizingly hypnotic and instantly
accessible. Disc One of the two disc set consists of cover versions of Pink
Floyd
(“Echoes”), Hawkwind (“Spirit
of the Age”
) and King Crimson (“Starless”),
and reworkings of early songs, while the second CD contains live tracks
recorded over the last two decades. Memories
Dreams Reflection
is a retrospective of sorts that doesn’t quite
look back at its history as it looks through its legacy. From the airy
reggae rhythms of 1992’s “Tempra” (“Always one
of my favourite early tunes,” noted Marks), to the expansive atmospherics
of 1992’s “Terra Om” (“I always rather liked
the obvious Pink Floyd influence in the synth playing.”), to the ready for
the midnight dance floor beat of “Soufie (Now That’s What I Call
2009)”
(“The original was very ambient/downtempo so this
version… goes for a very cheesy euro-trance style for a bit of fun.”),
the originals from the first disc are a diverse sampling of the epic tracks for
which Banco de Gaia is known. The live tracks of disc two are culled from its
legendary performances, including “China”,
“Celestine”
and its big dance hit “Last Train
to Lhasa”.

 

Initially inspired by the
Acid House movement in Europe in the late 80s,
Marks began Banco de Gaia in 1989 and recorded his first album Medium in 1991. Seminal releases
including 1994’s Maya, 1995’s
Last Train to Lhasa and his
latest album 2006’s Farewell Ferengistan, kept him at the forefront of the electronic world. He has worked
with a variety of musicians, ranging from the legendary saxophonist Dick Parry who played on Pink
Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon to Anglo-Egyption singer Natacha
Atlas
to cutting-edge dance pioneers Jack Dangers (Meat Beat Manifesto) and Fluke.

 

 

 

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