You Are Here is the first studio album by Banco De Gaia since Igizeh in 2000. The album is a series of musical snap shots of the world we live in as of 2003. From the classic Banco De Gaia floor filling booty-stomper "Zeu... more »s No Like Techno" to the introspective and haunting heart-felt tracks "Gray over Gray" and "Still Life," this new release sees Banco De Gaia back on world beating form and as difficult to classify as ever. You Are Here once again features the vocal talents of Jennifer Folker best known for her incredible performance on "Obsidian" from Banco's last studio album Igizeh« less
You Are Here is the first studio album by Banco De Gaia since Igizeh in 2000. The album is a series of musical snap shots of the world we live in as of 2003. From the classic Banco De Gaia floor filling booty-stomper "Zeus No Like Techno" to the introspective and haunting heart-felt tracks "Gray over Gray" and "Still Life," this new release sees Banco De Gaia back on world beating form and as difficult to classify as ever. You Are Here once again features the vocal talents of Jennifer Folker best known for her incredible performance on "Obsidian" from Banco's last studio album Igizeh
"Banco de Gaia's sixth studio is different than any of his previous releases. The difference is a focus on more upfront melody, and structured pop songs vice the ethnic ambience featured on previous efforts. The results are mixed. The outstanding opener, "Down From The Mountain", is a haunting epic more in what we're used to from previous BDG releases. A slow droning synth (almost cathedral in the mood it creates) is overlaid by a soothing, ethnic, almost child like vocal. Absolutely superb. The song eventually builds to an explosive conclusion that leads perfectly to the albums first single, "Zeus No Like Techno". A floor filling beat and grinding bass are overlaid with slashes of latin guitar strings. Very catchy indeed.
But here, things go a little south. "Waking Up In Waco" is just grating with it's hodge-podge samples, and "Gray Over Gray" is just irritating and boring. Very dissapointing after Jennifer Folker's gorgeous "Obsidian" performance. What happened?
Jennifer Folker contributes her voice again on "Tounge In Chic", which might be the closest thing Toby Marks' has ever written to a pop song. The bubbling synth, and verse/chorus (gasp!) song structure make for a very good, and very catchy tune. Here Jennifer Folkner shines. The rest of the album is less descript, sounding more like filler from previous Banco albums. "Not In My Name" is good, but "We Are Here" and "Still Life" just don't really stand out as anything better than average. So, aside from the first two tracks, "Tounge In Chic", and "Not In My Name", nothing really caught my ear. Kind of dissapointing considering the scope of his previous work. For those unfamilier with Banco's previous work, try his Last Train to Lhasa or Big Men Cry albums instead."
Sebastian Hilpo | Finland | 09/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The other two reviews made me react strongly. Gray Over Gray is one of the most heart-warming and touching songs ever recorded. Sure it gives you shivers, but they are shivers of pleasure as you understand the depth of these lyrics and the power they carry. Amazing track that you should listen again after ten years if you're not mature enough to appreciate it now. Here's my complete review:
Excellent new album from the well-known Toby Marks. Exceeded all my expectations big time. Very varied and musical album, the delivers wide range of beats, sounds, moods and emotions, something for everybody here I guess. All the songs differ from each other very much, but still there's a nice flow though the album, even though individual tracks suit best for different situations. A really handy tool for all kinds of djs, dance or chillout. All tracks are just wonderful, so I just give a short description.
1. Down From The Mountain opens smooth and gently with ambient feeling and gently evolves adding some nice singing and percussions and finally reaching to groovy house mode. The longest intro I've ever heard for a dance song.
2. Zeus No Like Techno is a strong dance tune mixed to the previous song and the pace is increased gradually as we reach to the peak of the song with killer melodies and lots of fx and noises in the background. This is massive and would make any conscious dancefloor explode.
3. The beat is slowed down is Waking Up In Waco, which is roaming heavy breakbeat monster with lots of voice samples critizising all-american lifestyle that really draw your attention. A lighthearted hippie-style song kicks in in the breakdown and the beats go on.
4. Gray Over Gray is purely improvised song with Toby and the singer Jennifer Folker. She has the most beautiful and strong voice and this song is pure pleasure for those who appreciate. And it last 12 minutes. Quite sad at start but starts growing and the finale fills you with beauty and happiness and trust for better tomorrow. Maybe the most emotive/moody song I've ever heard.
5. Tongue In Chic. Jennifer Folker continues singing in this funny, uplifting tune, that sounds at first like a dance pop song for teenagers. But then the strong bassline blows your fears away and you can start digging this very special tune with witty vocals and you find yourself singing along the chorus. Very much fun indeed, I would play this in every teenage night club in the world.
6. Not In My Name starts with very annoying noise, and the song is wrapping around this noise. Soon it prooves to be a nice uptempo chillout song, something that reminds me Tosca or Rodney Hunter, but Banco style you know.
7. We Are Here is the most recognizable of Banco's previous work. All the elements we love are here, just lifted to a new level.
8. Still Life ends the album with strong demands for freedom which blend into the most evoking power-ballad you could imagine. This will blow your mind if you're lucky to be in love and even if you're not. This was the last song I played in the Space of Joy - gathering in Russia (13.- 15.8.2004) and it was also the last song of the party. What a wonderful way to end a beautiful experience anywhere.
Highly recommend for anybody who likes anything nice :)"
Moments of brilliance, but a step down from previous albums
Brian J. Roach | Brooklyn, NY United States | 07/09/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a fan of Banco de Gaia since a friend turned me on to his very first album in 1993. The mixture of ambient, dub, and world music has produced 5 brilliant studio albums. However, "You are Here" is the first time I've been less than blown away by a Banco release. All of the purely instrumental and/or non-English vocal tracks are as good as anything Banco has ever done. Opening track "Down from the Mountain" is absolutely stunning, as is the gorgeous "Not in Our Name." The problem is with the tracks with lyrics. "Tongue in Chic" is terrible, which is something I never imagined I would ever have to say about a Banco track. "Grey over Gray" is WAY too long and not all that interesting either. The singers add nothing special to the tracks, and the lyrics are very cliche and simplistic. So, overall I have to say that I'm very disappointed with this album. However, it is still probably better than 90% of what you'll hear out there. If you are a longtime Banco fan, it's worth owning simply because Toby Marks is a brilliant musician who deserves your support (and your money!) and there are 3 or 4 classics on here. If you are new to Banco, I'd go back and get either "10 Years" which is a great 2-CD retrospective, or his earlier albums!"
Banco continues to be invigorating
Joseph Geni | Evanston, Illinois United States | 08/14/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As previous reviewers have said, this is not Banco de Gaia's best. However, Toby Marks is one of the greats of electronica, so it doesn't have to be his best to be good. This album is decidedly mellower than some of his earlier works, more reminiscent of "Big Men Cry" than "Maya." There's nothing as memorable as the amazing songs on "Last Train to Lhasa," but some of the songs are almost as good. Contrary to the opinion of some, I believe "Gray over Gray" is a superbly flowing track, as is "Not in My Name," as Toby once again demonstrates how he can make a song remain interesting for 10 minutes or more as few in the electronica world can (far fewer, anyway, than think they can). "Zeus No Like Techno" is a poor man's "Kincajou" and "Down From the Mountain" is rather reminiscent of the opening number in "Igizeh." Probably the low point for me is the synth-happy "Tongue in Chic," in which a solid beat is rather ruined by some vocals with all the sublety of Donald Trump. (Yes, this is the point of the song, but it is possible to oversatirize.) My other gripe is that a handful of the samples (the "freedom" chant between tracks 7 and 8 and a couple of the more paranoid rants in the first half of Waco), while politically provoking, are musically grating and annoying. But most of them fit. The rest of the album, particularly the thumping second half of "Waco" is another superb and inventive electronic outing. More synths and less Asian instruments, more ambient washes and less techno beats, more vocals and less instrumental numbers, but hey, let the master experiment. I only wonder what he's going to do next."
Toby's Anger Inspires A Classic
Norfolkian | Brancaster, Norfolk | 07/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Do yourself a favour and ignore any negative reviews to this CD.It is none of the things to which it might be accused, and, in many ways, the fact that Toby Marks breaks new personal and professional ground with its release should be welcomed and appreciated by more than Banco De Gaia fans.Toby couldn't very well rely on fast dance mixes and the thinking mans Ibiza sound for ever. Prior release "Igizeh" showed what was to come with the lyrical 'Obsidian', and lo, the dam was broken. Jennifer Folker has a mesmeric and powerful voice, one of maturity and stunning vocal range, the track 'Gray Over Gray' being the prime example, this is a piece which deserves wider acclaim and recognition. But, like it, the whole CD echoes to Marks' desire to release what he has obviously pent up for so long, worries, wider concerns, and fears, all of which surface in the stark, lyrically naive, yet very moving songs and sounds on this album.I have long loved Banco and all of their albums, without exception, without prejudice, and without expectation. I welcome this effort to the fold, and congratulate Toby on doing what so many musicians fail to do or realise thise days-performances and art that comes from the imperfect soul. Buy this. You will enjoy it."