Banco de Gaia

You Are Here

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Banco de Gaia (basically studio wiz Toby Marks and whomever he invites over) get their ethnic-electronic groove on again, but this time with extra vision. Maybe it's the four years since the last proper Banco de Gaia album, or maybe the troubled globe of 2004, but whatever it is, You Are Here feels better put-together than any other Banco album before and the most direct message to the listener that Marks has ever attempted. You can use the cover art as a representation of the general feel of the album. Marks' music is elaborate as ever but it's compact in purpose, like the cover's red dot and just as vivid. If Banco could cleverly noodle before, there will be none of that here and every bit of sampled filigree and every mystic sound fits. William S. Burroughs and a slew of news broadcasts fill "Waking Up in Waco," but they all have their place in this frightened vision of America. Igizeh's Jennifer Folker returns for an extra-smoky performance on the cinematic torch song "Gray Over Gray," a gripping number for all of its 12-plus minutes. None of the tracks are under seven minutes, which is a good thing since the slow development of the songs calls for it, and if "Not in My Name"'s hypnotic and heavy bass groove ended any earlier it would be a travesty. Two tracks aimed at the dancefloor, "Zeus No Like Techno" and "Tongue in Chic," are both excellent and keep the album from being a totally introspective, headphone record.

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