Banco de Gaia is UK composer Toby Marks, whose project is about mid-tempo trance-dance beats intertwined with ambient moods along world music samples and a slight new age-spiritual angle.
“Apollo” appears to be his first album in seven years. The albums opens strong with the emotive and profound chill-out “Lamentations”, but runs dry on the following two tracks “Wimble Toot” and “Eternal Sunshine”. Both are bleak and superficial instrumentals with an awful sax solo on the first one while the other take falls flat on its back with its bouncy, up-tempo style and weird samples.
Fortunately, the quiet realm returns on the 8 minute “For such a time”, which also features a nice dubby bass line, but feels uninspired and a bit dated again on the electro acoustic “Apollon” or the bland “Hu!”. Things slow down once more on the “All Sleeping” (what else to expect with such a title), where flutist Tim Weather and Patrick Dunn on violin add their moody part. A kindred sedate sphere is also found on the final track “Acquiescence”, with the down-tempo world fusion piece “Oreia” encountered between the aforementioned tracks. The emotive “Lamentations” and “Aquiescence” will appeal to fans of Lisa Gerrard’s solo efforts and collaboration within Dead Can Dance.
“Apollo’s” various trippy excursions make an inconsistent impression, but are worthwhile hearing for the haunting, tranquil pieces.
Alongside this album, the same label also released “Apollo Remixed”, on which an array of artists from across the electronic music spectrum (such as Steve Hillage/Miquette Giraudy, Eat Static and Kaya Project) remixed their favorite tracks from “Apollo” while bringing on their own distinctive take.