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Album Review

While claiming that his musical pseudonym is named after both Benito Mussolini's homosexual lover and the most boring opera ever made, Toby Marks makes music that's actually quite serious, full of abstract ambience and era-jumping Eastern and Western experimentation. Maya offers the strongest recollection of acid house of anything in his discography, with light, airy breakbeats and endlessly pleasant pianos rippling against a large backdrop of Asian influences. "Shanti" and "Qurna (Mister Christian on the Decks)" are easy favorites, and even when there's nothing to really tie it all together, there's a sort of pastoral tourist charm throughout.


Formed: Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, Eng

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Inspired to enter the field of electronic music by Britain's acid house explosion of the late '80s, Toby Marks took quite a different spin on electronica with his recordings as Banco de Gaia, introducing elements of Eastern and Arabic music, sampling similarly exotic sources, and tying the whole to ambient-dub rhythms. Marks began releasing cassette-only albums in the early '90s, distributed through a network of clubs and artists known as Planet Dog. When Planet Dog became a record label as well...
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Maya, Banco de Gaia
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