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heliopolis review
(by gavin stok)
september 4 2000

taken from banco de gaia's maya album, heliopolis: the city of the sun mixes is a collection of the original track plus three mixes, all of which are strongly faithful to the original. released in 1994 the title, helioplis, translates as the "city of the sun". it is in fact an city of ancient egypt and the center of sun worship during the pre-christian egyptian civilization. most tracks involve andy guthrie who helped produce the original version of the track. also credited for vocals are sandy with no last name is given. whether this is the wife of yoby marks, who shares the same name, is not known. the artwork for this release is done by atomic baby.

the eedupolis dog mix, done by michael dog & andy guthrie, is probably the strongest and most popular of the mixes. while the mix is not listed, it can be heard mixed in amongst other tracks on the popular northern exposure compilation done by john digweed and sasha. the track starts with the familiar sounds of the original before bringing in a reasonable paced dance beat and some great atmospheric chords. these chords then change with the main female vocal. they continue to layer the sound by once again introducing the atmospheric chords and keep the sound in this general area until around halfway through the track. here the dance beats disappear for some newer samples and a more energetic dance beat interspersed with siren-sounding samples. these continue for a little before more vocal and atmospheres. overall this remix is full of a blend of festive energy wrapped in atmospheric sounds that provide for a stomping foot and floating head.

meanwhile the liquid light mix, done by andy guthrie with thanks to tom warner, gets straight into things with no dreamy introduction. a short siren-like sample soon has the floating synths and a standard dance beat added on top. here a very electronic sounding sample takes over the beat and sample while other sounds are added. all is replaced by a fast-paced dub-like beat that adds a bit of groove to the track and the main music line from the track in an atmospheric soundscape with what sounds like a whale from the original track added for good measure. the track is absolutely floating. with exactly the right timing the female vocal sample is added to the mix before once again changing the sounds and rhythm around. electronic samples dominate with various sound effects added to good measure. a lot of the track is not directly taken from the original but has the general feel of it and continues this way for a good deal of time until it returns to the point it was half way through. finally the energy of the track is bought down to finish things off. the strongest aspect of this remix is the number of changes the music makes, yet with a general feel and direction of the original track throughout. a high quality mix. 

finally the redwood Mix, done by toby marks, is most reminiscent of the original. slower in pace than the previous two mixes, he starts things pretty much the same as in the original. however in this mix he enhances the original by adding more samples, notably some percussive elements and a short male vocal chant. the short male vocal, in particular, works to great effect. he also removes a few samples and, generally, adds a more festive aspect to the track through the different rhythm track. his effects are subtle yet powerful.

overall heliopolis is a very strong single that presents the original plus some very high quality mixes. while now extemely rare to find, it is a must for any banco de gaia fan.

copyright 2000-2002 gavin stok. all rights reserved