all nostalgic, these days?

maya

Joor Nitth offered that cheeky comment on my “What were the beaches like when you were young?” post. To which the flippant answer is, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. But it is curious how the mind plays tricks on you when something recedes into the past and what you remember unprompted becomes more fragmentary. And a bit less reliable than you’d like.

For some reason I ended up listening to Orbital’s Green and Brown albums recently. Although there’s plenty of tracks to enjoy there was also a lot that sounded terribly dated today. I’m not sure I’d listen to them again in a hurry. What of other 90s classics?

Take Maya for instance. Banco de Gaia’s 1994 album is getting a re-release (at the end of the month, as a limited edition triple CD!) on the occasion of it’s 20th anniversary. But I haven’t listened to the whole album in over a decade – I’ve only listened to odd tracks. And it even manages to be three years since I interviewed Toby (where did the time go?). I rather wonder whether my memory of it being the best album of its type – that fusion of acid house, ambient and Asian influences – can hold up to today’s reality.

Before that, what does its creator think? Of the album Banco de Gaia (Toby Marks) said three years ago “when I originally put that album together I had about 4 years of material ready to go so had to choose which tracks to include. Fortunately I was gigging a fair bit at the time so based it on what got a good response from audiences and also what would work as a whole album listening experience rather than just a series of tunes. Apart from heavy metal, I grew up listening to the likes of Pink Floyd and enjoyed listening to whole albums so I made mine with that goal in mind, to work as a whole.”

Here’s a thing. Maya turns out to be better than I remember. Opener and stand out track Heliopolis is a rainforest of bird calls followed by rippling acid-influenced spirals. Mafich Arabi adds Maghreb influences to the album’s more widespread Asian influences but backed with a strong dance sensibility. Sunspot keeps a strong beat-based undercarriage but goes for psychedelic violin. Perhaps the strongest evidence of the Pink Floyd influence. Overall, part of the reason that the album works so well is that it was tested live and still gets the feet moving. Another is that the beats were never mainstream and so avoid sounding “of a time.” The last reason is that it is an album, a coherent whole. The album’s been remastered. It’s a bit crisper than the original and slightly less analogue sounding as a result. Toby say “I’m so proud to be reissuing this after 20 years. I consider it a great achievement that I managed to produce something that people would still want to listen to 20 years into the future. Thanks to all the fans for their continuing support“.

As for the other two discs, the live one is for fans only. The tracks tend to be thumpier versions of the originals and suffer accordingly. The third disc of remixes is surprisingly good, with all the originals surviving the process. Leaving the memories of an old man to one side, here’s a contemporary remix for free download:

Heliopolis (Silinder Remix)

Pre-order the album – at £15 a bit of a bargain for 3 discs – here:

Blurb: In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the release of an album which is considered by many to be one of the pioneering classics of global electronica, Disco Gecko Recordings is happy to announce the release of a triple disc version of Banco De Gaia’s ‘Maya’, limited to 1,500 copies and not available as a download or stream. Originally released in February 1994 on the Planet Dog label, Maya reached No1 in the independent charts in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize.

Disc One contains the original album, which mixes beautiful textures, soaring melodies and slamming grooves with sounds from the far corners of the world as airy breaks and beats ripple against a backdrop of Asian and other ethnic influences. Disc Two features mainly unreleased alternative mixes of the album, including a live version of Sunspot, recorded for the John Peel Sessions, and the original full 22 minute mix of Shanti. Disc Three is predominantly remixes and features a brand new mix of Mafichi Arabi by Temple Hedz, as well as versions by Eat Static, 100th Monkey & Mr Noisy and Veloce.

~ by acidted on February 24, 2014.

2 Responses to “all nostalgic, these days?”

  1. Hey, what a pleasantly unexpected surprise: I’m being quoted on one of my favorite blogs, I think I’m ready to write a book (not really ;).

    Back to the main topic: “nostalgia isn’t what it used to be”. I would say that nothing is ever true to itself, for a mere physical concept related to the continuous movement of energy flows of which matter is made up, but that’s not what I feel inside, when I think about your sentence. I will say it with the help of your fellow countryman, George Orwell: “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” and that’s pretty much everything, nowadays (at least to me).

    • The Greek word for “return” is nostos. Algos means “suffering.” So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return

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