Toby Marks, the musical alchemist behind Banco de Gaia, made his reputation by infusing Asian and Middle Eastern musical elements into his dub mixes, resulting in a compelling world music-electronica hybrid. For Igizeh, he... more » has further blurred the constituent genres' boundaries, softening the house beat just a bit and letting his disparate inspirations swirl into a dreamy, intoxicating sonic daydream. If that's the club's loss, it's certainly the listener's gain. Much of the album was recorded in Egypt (including segments produced inside the Great Pyramid at Giza and the Temple of Seti I at Thebes), but to his credit Marks cannily avoids many easy world music and ambient clichés; Jennifer Folkes's soulful vocals on "Obsidian" and "Glove Puppet" are not the least of the stylish balancing act between East and West presented herein. --Jerry McCulley« less
Toby Marks, the musical alchemist behind Banco de Gaia, made his reputation by infusing Asian and Middle Eastern musical elements into his dub mixes, resulting in a compelling world music-electronica hybrid. For Igizeh, he has further blurred the constituent genres' boundaries, softening the house beat just a bit and letting his disparate inspirations swirl into a dreamy, intoxicating sonic daydream. If that's the club's loss, it's certainly the listener's gain. Much of the album was recorded in Egypt (including segments produced inside the Great Pyramid at Giza and the Temple of Seti I at Thebes), but to his credit Marks cannily avoids many easy world music and ambient clichés; Jennifer Folkes's soulful vocals on "Obsidian" and "Glove Puppet" are not the least of the stylish balancing act between East and West presented herein. --Jerry McCulley
"1) Seti I: Slow, root chakra build into chants, birds, and distant children. Impending -- an air of expectation. Tar & dumbeks bring in rhythm tracks as ululating cries penetrate, a wild dance of the breaking dawn or maybe a Ghengis Khan and his musical hoards descending to liberate captive children from their schoolbooks. As with many tracks on this CD, distant voices, not quite understood, evoke and compel, suggest and draw out meanings hidden just below the surface.2) Obsidian: Whispers of a pulsating white light with flowing & merging synth chords -- UFO entities descend in a maelstrom of 150+ bpm light & nimble dance. Soaring, airy vocals weave between flowing and staccato elements. The driving dance gives way, in the end, to layered vocals.3) Creme Egg: Chanting & percussion, layering in synths, and finally adding vocal choruses reminiscent of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.4) Glove Puppet: Mournful strings and synth with plaintive female vocals "please remember what I look like ... tried to burn me, wouldn't listen, I died ..." The voice of every girlfriend I ever walked away from.5) Gizeh: Begins with the moan of the dead and the command of their demon taskmasters. Slow synthesizers slide in with hints of percussion. Exotic reed sounds come to dominate. Pain. Frenetic percussion with a heavy rhythmic percussive synthesizer (sharp attack with moderate sustain) fades & builds to complement reeds. Crescendos with underlying undecipherable muttering voices before a denouement that ends with a short spoken Arabic (?) phrase. 6) How Much Reality Can You Take?: Ambient world dance track. Repeats the same loop for the first minute, gradually adding instruments, then lets synthesizers carry melody and move on.7) B2: Flowing, lyrical slow dance. Opening, mind-opening, eye-opening, eyes closed. Whispering airy voices. Vox Dea. Flowing synthesizers, strings over rhythms. 8) Fake it Til you Make It: Starts with echoes of a fascist harangue and marching feet, moves into a flowing and Floydescent guitar. Psychedelically modulated, like some Dark Side of the Moon out take. Yet, this is not really derivative, it continues to maintain continuity with Igizeh. Gradually fades out at about five minutes ... "you don't have to be sad to cry" ... an upbeat synth drum pattern erupts, a trap set jams in, then keyboards, like the Deep Purple organist on a shamanic journey--an Egyptian shamanic journey. After about four minutes of that, the music shifts back to its original Floydescent mode, although with different instrumentation until it fades out. At 11 minutes plus, the longest piece on the disk.9) Sixty Sixteen: Moody tone poem, open in stillness. Slow, drifting with exotic plucked melody over electronic chords. Evolves. Builds. Place of stillness. Slightly more insistent motif briefly prevails, then shrinks as all fades out to the winds.(If you'd like to discuss this CD or review in more depths, click on the "about me" link above & drop me an email. Thanks!)"
More Magical Sounds
DJ ProFusion - WorldFusionRadio.com | Evanston, IL | 04/25/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Bottom Line: Igizeh is Egyptian inspired, and parts of it was recorded at the Great Pyramid. Marks brews a magical blend of of instruments, sound effects, and uplifting chants.The opening track "Seti I" starts off softly. All you hear at first is a distant voice, like an Islamic call to prayer, and a soft ambient hum. Gradually, very gradually, more instruments join in. Drums, tambourine, keyboards, then a vocal wail. It ramps up slowly building in volume and sophistication of theme until the chant begins. The volume and intensity continues to build and it isn't until five minutes into the song that it finally reaches full bore. Though highly unusual it is very effective. You are by now thoroughly hooked by the driving beat and the stirring group chant and mesmerized by the fluttering about of electronic themes. It is a journey to a distant land where you are sitting in on a tribal song. Though the song is long at well over eight minutes, it still seems too short."Obsidian" is great song featuring a fabulous vocal performance by Jennifer Folker. Part torch song part techno dance track, Obsidian has a very catchy tune, impassioned singing and a very dancey beat. The lyrics switch between English and other languages and non-languages, with the key English verse being "visions of yesterday, today." Hopefully some club DJs will pick up on this great song. The song inspired a remix CD.A male Indian vocalist starts it out "Crème Egg," giving way to an electronic interlude with a speed reminiscent of "Flight of the Bumblebee." The middle section features a south Asian chanter wonderfully mixed with swirling synthesizer, bass, and drums. It concludes again with the original vocalist. Marks had released an instrumental version of "Glove Puppet" on The Magical Sounds of Banco de Gaia. Here, he adds a stunning emotive vocal by Jennifer Folker, improving an already great song exponentially. The very emotional lyrics are superbly sung by Folker and the electronics and vocals form a deep gothic song. "Gizeh" is a very odd tune. Vocal samples of strange muffled shouts, the words or even language of which are indecipherable. Synthesized strings provide a Beethovenesque feel. The song is very grand in scope "How Much Reality Can You Take?" is a sitar song in the tradition of Ananda Shankar. Upbeat from the very first bar, it is a hard driving psychedelic trip. Marks sets down the central sitar theme than plays with variations on it throughout the song, the same approach Orbital uses. Secondary themes from percussion and keyboards call and respond to the sitar. Very fast and energetic, it is impossible to sit still listening to it. It really shows off Mark's composing skill."B2" considerably slows down the pace with an ambient-tinged song. Synth and female backing vocals lay down a pleasant groove joined by a woodwind solo (synthesized but sounding most like a flute). Spacey and trippy."Fake It Till You Make It" is like a lighter version of Gizeh, with similar samples but more emphasis on the strings. About five minutes in it suddenly shifts into an early 70's funk groove and before you know it you are hearing a Hammond organ jam session. What the . . . . Unexpected but kinda cool, oops, I mean groovy. After the three minute jam session, we return to the earlier theme. At nearly 12 minutes, the song is a bit long for what it has to offer."Sixty Sixteen" begins with a church-like organ solo gradually replaced by a steel guitar in turn replaced by synthed strings. It is an atmospheric song gradually picking up the pace then slowing back down again.In sum, Igizeh is mostly a trippy space album, grandiose in scale, at times reminiscent of Tangerine Dream. Really, the nine tracks are four songs. Tracks 1, 2, 4, and 6 being discrete entities, while the rest are all different expressions of the same basic musical theme. This is not a criticism as it works quite well. But unless that theme grabs you, you will get bored before you get to the end of the album. I think that explains the organ jam mid way through track 8. Still, there is so much to like about this CD. Igizeh definitely establishes Banco de Gaia as one of the foremost world fusion artists."
Mark Goldsworthy | Austin, tx USA | 03/01/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Background in Banco : I feel deeply moved by Big Men Cry and therefore enjoy that recording the most. Second are the wonderful ambient trips found on Last Train with Magical Sounds' more happy-feeling trippy-ness coming in third. I love the more melancholy / serious sounding Banco rather than the more happy silliness style he sometimes uses ( to great effect though and I say `silliness' in the best possible way... :) . So it's pleasurable to hear Toby Marks returning to that sort of feel with Igizeh. Somewhat at least.Igizeh is a new sound for Banco and there are some real beauties on here. Some serious some fun and hip with a lot of real sounding instruments layered in to tie it all together. An electronic far eastern feast for the ears. Seti 1 initially sounds as if came from The Last Temptation of Christ and builds wonderfully into a frantic drum driven trip. Obsidian slowly builds, picks up the pace with its driving bass and introduces a wonderful ethereal vocal flowing perfectly with the music. A great high-energy track. I did not enjoy the remixes on the single. Far too noisy with no subtlety...Not too keen on the whining of Glove Puppet ( the lyrics are not that inspired ). I much prefer the instrumental found on MS. Also not so keen on hearing the same material again. Would prefer something more fresh for a new album. Gizeh - a nice mellow groove. Fusing that eastern charm with clarinet and strings. And building and building... HMRCYT ? is great head mover. Love this.B2 is the favorite for me. A relatively slow track with deep bass, punching electric bleeping and unearthly female vocal wisps woven within. A slow mover, groover !I would enjoy Fake It... a whole lot more if it weren't for the recording. I don't know if it was intentional or not but on the first and last act of this track a high pitch sound is present with just destroys the listen pleasure for me. I found it very off putting anyway. This is a shame as the track just seem so epic. With the middle section just jammin'Enough rambling. I enjoy Banco's latest but not as much as some earlier albums. No Crying here...still, you have to listen."
Recipe for magic... taste it!
Sebastien Charasse | Paris, Paris France | 08/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You take some Pink Floyd, a bit of Groove Armada, two slices of Chemical Brothers, maybe a little bit of Moby, you cover it with high quality ethnic chill ambientation cream (and not the usual samples we ALWAYS get to have in this genre), also a pinch of psychedelic, you mix it, you shake it, you blend it, you twist it, use it as a maraca, and there you have it!!! BANCO DE GAIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
In the zone...
Kai Lin | Seattle, WA USA | 01/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love it! "Igizeh" puts me "into the zone"; what an outstanding piece of work by Banco de Gaia. I found myself enchanted with the opening of the first track, Seti I. Starting with the sounds of birds twittering in the Temple of Seti I at Thebes, layer after rich layer of rhythm, melody and the sounds of Egypt are laid down, building to driving dance beats. It's a three-dimensional feast of music and sound that I can't resist. Even if I am sitting down, my body starts moving to those grooves. Obsidian is just as compelling as Seti I. World fusion and dance beats don't get better than this."