Electronic world dance.
Apollo sees Banco De Gaia on top form: powerfully evocative, globally infused chillout, vivid and colourful. There is a great range of mood here: we have the mournful, ethereal drift of Lamentations; the infectious, inebriated folk dance of Wimble Toot; the insistent off-beat joy of Eternal Sunshine; the internationally lush tribalism of Apollon; the dub-oriental flavoured gradual climax of Oreia. It seems that each new track brings a completely fresh feel to the developing picture, All Sleeping has a luxuriously soporific slow-motion English-ness about it unfolding gradually out of the natural sounds of woodland green and remote village timelessness. Tim Wheater’s brooding flute adds to the dreamy, cinematic nature of this piece – echoing vocal hints, smooth violas and an understated, introspective guitar melody broadening the appeal.
Apollo is a plastic-free three-panel card sleeve of dual character: the outside is bathed in Mediterranean sunshine and the aqua blue of the sea-sky divide, an orange-lit temple, textured title and ragged scroll (whereupon track titles reside) providing pleasing colour complement; within, a brick-red ground supports a panel of information, a panel with slot for the disc and another with slot for the twelve-page booklet. The booklet itself is designed to feel like an aged artefact: dark leather binding, textured spine and thickened corners. The pages inside are text free (apart from a quote George Orwell to accompany All Sleeping) rich photo/graphic montages full of subtle little details to enrich the sonic imagery.
After a studio hiatus of seven years, Banco De Gaia returns with a stunning new nine-track album. Released via his own Disco Gecko Recordings label Apollo features vocal performances from Zhenia Mahdi-Nau, flute from Tim Wheater, sax from Matthew Jenkins drums courtesy of Ted Duggan, violas from Patrick Dunn and even some guitar from someone called Toby Marks. Everything has the top quality feel that you would expect from such an experienced musician – beautifully produced and presented – Banco at his eclectic best. You can explore the music via the Banco De Gaia Bandcamp page or of course the official Banco De Gaia website.