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igizeh review
(by rich morley)
october 19 2000

igizeh translates to the word "vacation" in egyptian arabic, and hence eastern sounding prayer chants set the opening scene in banco-de-gaia's sixth official long player, recorded in part inside the great pyramid of giza and surrounding locations. seti i was recorded at the temple of seti 1 at thebes, and is a strong opener and very typical banco sounding, with an overall uplifting vibe that runs parallel with tracks like no rain from the previous album. the beats build up slowly in a similar manner to those in drippy, with a catchy tribal chant chorus and powerful Indian war chants adding fuel to the pace. obsidian boldly steps into new territory, with toby marks introducing live vocals into his music for the first time from jennifer folker. ultimately this leads to a very commercial vibe and midway through the track its easy to forget that you are actually listening to banco-de-gaia. to be fair jennifer folker has an amazing voice and iím interested to see how this track translates in the forthcoming single, with mixes by fluke, the light and andy guthrie.

creme egg jumps back to banco-of-old mode with clattery drums and quirky chants. glove puppet is a new vocal version of the same track that featured on the previous album, again with vocals by fennifer folker. my reservations about this track hold firm, since first time round i found it rather morbid and depressing - well, as the vocals stand they are impressive and compliment the track perfectly, although i wonít be playing this track when i need cheering up. and then as glove puppet fades out we enter gizeh, although you would be fooled into believing that you've detoured into the underworld, with a bizarre collection of samples - make your own mind up! live elements of banco's band shine through here, with an oboe solo accompanied by a slow kick drum and deep analogue fx. the mood is back to big men cry and no doubt fans of that album will appreciate this more than myself. however, the album turns yet another corner with the fabulous eastern tinged how much reality can you take? which combines a catchy sitar riff with all the usual banco sounds - this is another winner. b2 drops the mood down a couple of gears as this ambient swirler plods along at gentle pace. fake it till you make it is another deep and moody pieces that is reminiscent of big men cry, complete with the local vicar losing the plot on a Hammond organ - different! and this just leaves sixty sixteen to close the album in that typical slow ambient building style that banco has perfected.

so, itís a bit of a mixed bag from banco. my overall impression is that this album doesn't flow very well from start to end. thumbs up to toby marks for exploring new territory with the vocal tracks, although with these tracks embedded between the typical banco sounding material they really do seem out of place. and the mood keeps flipping between uplifting and deep and mournful - itís a bit of a roller-coaster ride. worth getting for seti i and how much reality can you take? alone, although how the rest of the album is interpreted is your call...

the album is released in europe on september 25, 2000 and in the u.s. on September 26, 2000. it can be ordered in advance in the u.s. from cd now and amazon. it is not yet listed in u.k. stores.

  credits

reproduced with permission from rich morley. original article is here (also visit for reviews of other albums).

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