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the magical sounds of banco de gaia review
(by kiran k. adithan)
july 3 1999

magical [sounds of banco de gaia] is just one of the many words that can be used to describe the sounds on this latest banco de gaia endeavor. magical sounds is a testament to banco mastermind toby marks' eclectic songwriting skills and vision. for those familiar with the banco de gaia sound, which usually consists of a combination of world and techno music, this record is no surprise, which is not necessarily a bad thing. the record starts off with the perfect opening song in i love baby cheesy, which utilizes cool bass sounds, funky beats, arabic woodwind sounds, and unusual samples. this track is perfect to dance and drive to because of its upbeat rhythms. but the upbeat rhythms soon give way to the more trademark banco de gaia sound in the dreamy soundscapes of harvey and the old ones and sinhala. the serene sounds, samples, and relaxed beats of these tracks are perfect to cool down to after grooving to the opening track.

but just when you thought it was safe to sit down, marks dares you to get back up and groove all over again when touching the void kicks in. this track reminds me somewhat of future sound of london's papua new guinea, but with that banco twist by incorporating interesting percussive sounds, beautiful synth lines, and a sample of what seems to be a sped-up conversation from an indian movie. the records soon flows into spaced-out dub mode with 144k? and frog's dinner, then into more somber territory in glove puppet, a beautiful ambient string-laden track that leads into the closing track, no rain, an no, it is not a cover of the blind melon song of the same name, rather an upbeat, joyous exit from the magical world that banco de gaia seems to dwell in.

by incorporating world, folk, and electronic music into one big meal of sound, banco de gaia is a consistently fresh path in a road filled with tag-names, ego, and imitation. like contemporaries loop guru, banco de gaia has created a genre all unto his own. who knows what magic this wizard will concoct in the future.


reproduced without permission from last sigh. to be used for private and research use only. original article is here.

copyright 1999-2002 gavin stok. all rights reserved