Persian strings and prog rock. Tibetan songs and ecstatic house. Welcome to the strange, wonderful world of DJ / remixer /dance music maestro Banco de Gaia (aka Toby Marks) whose work sprang from the hopeful exuberance of British house, the joys of sampling, and the advent of global music.
Now, new listeners unfamiliar with this funky founding father of eclectic electronica can savor nearly two decades of hits, rarities, and remixes on Songs from the Silk Road. An intro to the vibrant cross-pollination of house and world music, tracks shift from hard-hitting to playful, pulsing to ambient, all guided by a strong, omnivorous ear for powerful beats and delicate filigrees of sound.
Pensive modal harmonies (“Farewell Ferengistan”—named for an obscure Central Asian term for Europeans) alternate with hand drum-heavy dub grooves (“Amber”). Gentle digital pops and glitches (“Big Men Cry”) give way to driving rhythms, stirring vocals, and glittering keyboards (“Last Train to Lhasa”).
As Banco De Gaia puts it: “I wanted to round up the body of work and create a portfolio for new listeners. 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.”