Banco De Gaia – Ollopa (Apollo Remixed)
Downtempo, world-dance remixes.
Gamelan bells, sighing synths and sonorous hand drums start the experience as Tripswitch remixes Acquiescence into a lush, hypnotic downtempo dream. The deeply evocative vocals of Zhenia Mahdi-Nau drift ethereally through the mix as it gradually builds to climactic glory. Subsequent tracks retain this richness, this saturated global-other-worldliness whilst shifting genre bases and rhythmic formats to taste. Deep Fried Dub does what the title suggests to Oreia with a bouncy, crunch beat and bubbling electronica; Desert Dwellers take All Sleeping into a perfect balance between nodding reverie and techno complexity. Hu! opens with heaving tribal drums and a piercing synthetic whistle before shifting to an insistent sequencer and dance/break beat. Kaya Project juxtaposes an eclectic montage of world instrumentation and melodic digital wizardry, whilst System 7 creates a lucid, spacey vibe around a distinctly feel-good rhythm. Toby Marks re-invents Eternal Sunshine himself as the eighth piece here: epic and enormous in scope, this track makes a mesmerising shift midway where the underlying time signature changes before reintroducing all of the dramatic synths, Middle Eastern elements and vocal chants onto the new pattern. Eat Static’s whimsical Wimble Toot with its pumping brass wobbles gloriously in a drunken folk dance spurred on by traditional violins, flutes and accordion phrases. Gaudi lifts the drifting Lamentations into a bass driven blend of atmospheric beauty and gritty, zappy euphoria.
The Ollopa CD arrives in a beautiful nocturnal blue card wallet of three panels. A huge moon dominates the front cover, cut vertically by a ragged tree form. The classical orange-sun-setting of the original Apollo album is here dropped into indigo night – a hue that diffuses throughout. The rear cover lists the tracks and their remix names. The third outer section opens up the track list with information on the remixers and their websites as well as listing additional musicians and providing generous thanks. The inner panorama is text-free; a pale blue moonscape filling all three sections. The DC sits in a curved notch keeping the packaging completely free of plastic.
Banco de Gaia has been in the habit of following up his studio albums with remix releases for a while now – this is perhaps the strongest one so far with each track delivering something much more engrossing than a simple restructuring of the source material. The track order, like the title and the colour scheme, is reversed from the original album. The nine recordings can be explored on the Banco De Gaia Bandcamp page as can Apollo itself. A look at the official Banco De Gaia website explains that this was not originally intended to be a full remix album, he explains: “I emailed my friends and allies in the music world and was blown away by how many folk were up for remixes, and in that way ‘Ollopa’ was born. As the mixes came in, it became obvious that there was an opportunity to remix the album concept as well, by flipping the order (and then the name and the artwork), so that the collection would begin softly and end with a bang.”