Banco de Gaia
» Last Train To Lhasa : 20th Anniversary Edition
Reviewed by Pete M
/ Submitted 11-07-17 18:54
Label: Disco Gecko Recordings
Genre: Ambient / Trance
In 1995, Banco de Gaia released his second album "Last Train To Lhasa", an album that encapsulated the world of chill and fused it with ambient dub and trance music. It received a three-disc edition for its last anniversary with new remixes. But in 2015, it saw a newly-remastered and revamped four-disc edition, completed by three whole discs of remixes. The four-disc set was limited to 3000 copies and there were NO digital versions made available. Streaming of the album was also not possible. This practice was also used for concurrent Banco anniversary albums, most notably, the new 2-disc edition of Big Men Cry, which was reviewed on this here site. Anyway, as this album is fairly huge, in terms of content, lets get started!
CD1 - Last Train To Lhasa
If you have the original album, you'll know what to expect but if you haven't, you can expect a journey through a world of ambient, dub and trance. Yes, really. The title track is immense and meanders along at a leisurely pace for 11 pulsating minutes. Each of the tracks segue into each other so there's a cohesion between them. From there, we go into Kuos, China and 887 (Structure). Kicanjou, which was remixed by Oliver Lieb on a remix album, is present and correct, as is Eagle, which was unreleased. Well, at the time of the album it was anyway. Last Train is a lovely relaxing odyssey across the ambient landscape and is surely suited to chill sessions. Lovely.
CD2 is where the album expands its reach with some of the tracks being given classic and new mixes. Each mix is given a new remastering but the stand-out mix is the expansive Duck! Asteroid mix of Kicanjou which has been lengthened from 36 minutes on the original album, to 44 minutes. As with disc 1, the tracks are segued together to allow cohesion. For me though, I would have liked them to be separated from each other. But that's just my view. Also included are the Small Steppa mix of Eagle and the Gnomes mix of Kuos. These tracks were on CD2 of the original album, but in shorter versions but still extensive. Favourite track on this CD has to be Kicanjou, with its slow, agonising, build and lovely floaty background.
CD3 uses a combination of old and new mixes. China is interpreted in the Follow The Red Brick Road version, which extends the track to 9 and a half minutes. 887, in the Darkside Return, gets a 22-minute mix and there's the 18-minute Ambient Mix of the title track and "White Paint" (Where's The Runway Dub) which runs for 19 minutes. The Very Extended Ambient Mix of Last Train is probably my fave on this disc.
CD4: Last Train To Lhasa Remixed
And now, the grand finale. Last Train To Lhasa Remixed, which is my unofficial title for this disc is the entire album remixed. All eight tracks are remixed by the likes of Andrew Heath, alucidnation, Sonasha and Bluetech. Unlike CDs 1, 2 and 3, disc 4 is unmixed so you're getting each mix in full. Some mixes are old but have been remastered but we get some new ones as well, most notably AstroPilot, whose mix appeared on the 20th Anniversary EP of the title track. Banco de Gaia himself reworks Kincajou, Andrew Heath revisits China and alucidnation takes on White Paint. Sonasha's Space Potato Remix of 887 is a highlight for me, especially for its quirky mix title.
As an album, Last Train is really, for me, the cream of the ambient crop; very reminiscent of, say, Mike Oldfield or the techno sway of Orbital. There are some stand-outs on the record, namely the Duck! Asteroid mix of Kicanjou, the trance beats of Last Train To Lhasa, which was re-released in a 20th anniversary EP, and the lovely Kuos. Top stuff.
1. Last Train To Lhasa (11.44)
2. Kuos (6.56)
3. China (Clouds Not Mountains) (7.30)
4. Amber (7.34)
5. Kincajou (6.48)
6. White Paint (6.06)
7. 887 (Structure) (14.21)
8. Eagle (7.32)
1. Kuos (Gnomes Mix) (11.20)
2. Kincajou (Duck! Asteroid - Extended Version) (44.07)
3. Eagle (Small Steppa Mix) (12.34)
1. China (Follow The Red Brick Road) (9.31)
2. Amber (Insect Intelligence) (10.23)
3. 887 (Darkside Return) (22.34)
4. White Paint (Where's The Runway Dub) (19.25)
5. Last Train To Lhasa (Very Extended Ambient Mix) (18.04)
CD4 - Last Train To Lhasa Remixed
1. Last Train To Lhasa (AstroPilot Remix) (7.14)
2. Kuos (Bluetech Remix) (7,21)
3. China (Andrew Heath Remix) (7.14)
4. Amber (Andy Guthrie Mix) (6.16)
5. Kincajou (M N Taal Mix) (6.03)
6. White Paint (alucidnation's Dream Remix) (5.45)
7. 887 (Sonasha's Wrath Of The Space Potato Remix) (8.12)
8. Eagle (Nick Manasseh Dub) (4.53)
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