Banco de Gaia
Songs From The Silk Road (Disco Gecko, 2011)
Songs From The Silk Road is an excellent introduction to the music of Banco de Gaia. This legendary UK act is the project of DJ, remixer and multi-instrumentalist Tony Marks. During the past two decades Banco de Gaia has been attracting electronica and world music fans alike. His combination of cutting edge electronics, dreamy soundscapes, global beats and samples and Pink Floydesque space rock makes Banco de Gaia one of the most attractive acts in the global electronica genre.
The Songs From The Silk Road anthology contains material from Banco de Gaia’s long career. Marks started in the 1980s as a guitarist and trumpeter player. He loved progressive rock, experimental jazz, classical music, and more, but he was not a fan of synth pop. “But then hose happened and changed everything. It opened up a whole new world for me, and I discovered this new machine-made way of making music,” Marks explains. “Combined with the new technology of sampling, I could suddenly have these big Pink Floyd-esque ideas that I could never have executed otherwise.”
Sampling of world music artists Cartwright his attention. “In ‘87, Coldcut remixed ‘Paid in Full’ by Eric B. & Rakim and featured a sample of Ofra Haza,” Marks remembers. “It was straight American hip hop with Israeli vocals, and that really inspired me. I was excited to hear someone combining elements that way outside of jazz and experimental classical music.”
Banco de Gaia was born with the intention of mixing folk music from various parts of the world, inclding Tibet, Central Asia, and the Middle East with electronics. “I find it really stimulating working with Arabic rhythms and Asian string styles, for example,” Marks recounts. “When you start listening to music from other cultures, you soon hear that, below the surface, it’s not all that different. Often the fundamental principles are the same.”
Banco de Gaia’s reputation increased and climbed charts in the UK, into the album top 40. Marks collaborated with numerous musicians, including world music star Natacha Atlas and Pink Floyd saxophone player Dick Parry.
Marks love for progressive rock found him reworking the epic Pink Floyd track, “Echoes,” and pieces from King Crimson. He jammed with British space rock icons Hawkwind, playing guitar for their 40th anniversary in London as Banco de Gaia celebrated twenty years of music making.
Songs From The Silk Road intends to attract a new audience. “I wanted to round up this body of work and create a portfolio for new listeners,” Marks notes. “The origins of this sound, a sound that’s now ubiquitous, are really interesting, and I want people to know more about it. Back then in early days, we were inventing this whole new thing. This album shows that, and how things have evolved since.”
Songs From The Silk Road delivers the captivating electronic and cross-cultural sound sculptures of an extraordinary British musician.
- In North America: Songs From The Silk Road, Farewell Ferengistan, Igizeh, Last Train to Lhasa, Maya
- In Europe:
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.