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Banco De Gaia announce 20th Anniversary Live At Glastonbury 2CD

  • To CD or not CD? That is the question. Whilst some artists are starting to rely exclusively on streaming servicing of their latest release – and therefore declining the option of a shiny silver disc – Toby Marks, the man behind Banco De Gaia (“World Bank”), continues to double down on the perhaps soon-to-be legacy format.

    Banco De Gaia’s music straddles the seemingly implausible nexus of world music, electronica and dub with the occasional drift into the extended noodling of 70’s progressive rock. The results are sometimes deeply introspective (2006’s Farewell Ferengistan) and sometimes euphoric (1998’s The Magical Sounds Of…) and often both…

    …when Marks took Last Train To Lhasa on the road in 1995, that year’s Glastonbury Festival performance was recorded to DAT and released on CD a year later. The result – the plainly titled Live At Glastonbury – remains the most celebratory and joyous recording of Banco De Gaia’s 14 album career.

    The CD sleeve notes read:

    “This is a recording of the complete set performed on The Avalon Stage, Glastonbury Festival, England on June 24th 1995. We have tried to capture the spirit of the occasion rather than achieve technical perfection. No blame.”

    Mission accomplished. A Melody Maker review from 1996 enthused more effusively: “the atmosphere of the recording is so vibrant and celebratory that you… feel the musical playback actually benefits from the adoration of others. A jaw-dropping triumph.”


    Twenty years on from that original release, our man from Leamington Spa is marking the occasion with an expanded 20th Anniversary edition of Live At Glastonbury, one that will combine the original 1995 live set with another recorded twenty years later at the 2015 Glastonbury Festival.

    Describing the differences between now and then Marks tells DAR via email, “It’s much bigger, much more crowded and much more urban in a lot of places. People still want to have the same experience though and let their hair down, same as they ever did. I guess I play to an older audience now than I did then but they are just as enthusiastic and, especially at the moment playing with the live band, I still love it.”

    The differences between now and then aren’t only limited to the live experience. Home listeners can now access music via downloads and streaming services.

    From the Banco De Gaia Facebook page, Marks writes, “When this [Live at Glastonbury] fist came out streaming hadn’t even begun. Now it’s either destroying or saving the music industry, depending on who you believe.

    Glastonbury Festival is still going as strong as ever but revenue from recorded music continues to fall (despite what some ‘experts’ tell you). Meanwhile, streaming is a music fan’s dream. Good or evil? You tell me…”

    The words might seem ambivalent but Marks’ wariness of the music industry’s current artist remuneration method can be heard in the tone of his social media missive.


    Marks is more than a man of words. In a similar vein to the 20th Anniversary Editions of Maya and Last Train To Lhasa dropping in 2014 and 2015 respectively, Marks will be issuing the double-decade birthday edition of Live at Glastonbury on CD and CD only. No streaming, no downloads.

    Whilst the original CD’s nine tracks remain available on Spotify, Tidal and as a lossless or lossy download from Marks’ bandcamp page for £6 (where it is oddly recast as a Special Edition), if you want to get your ears around Banco De Gaia’s live set from the Avalon Stage at Glastonbury 2015, you’ll have to pony up some extra cash for the 2CD 20th Anniversary Edition when it lands in stores on 5th August, shipping an all. Price is TBC.

    This long time Banco De Gaia fan will be buying in just as I did with the expanded Maya and Last Train to Lhasa, most likely via Marks’ aforementioned bandcamp instead of

    Lastly, geekier fans (like yours truly) will perhaps recall the original CD booklet containing the following additional info:

    “Due to a rather complicated legal and political situation, we were unable to clear a vocal sample used on ‘887’. We have therefore had to edit that section out, which has left the track less than perfect, but it seemed best to still leave it on the CD anyway. Let’s pray for the day when we will ALL appreciate music for what it is, rather than for it’s financial or political value…”

    Twenty years on, I asked Marks to spill the beans: “It was a vocal from a track by a band called Praise, originally used on a car advert”, he says. So that’s that cleared up then; even if the sample remains uncleared and missing from the 20th Anniversary release.

    The CD isn’t dead yet.

    Further information: Banco De Gaia – Official Website

    John H. Darko

    Written by John H. Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram


    1. Glad to see that the cd isn’t dead. You can get some great music for a very reasonable price. I love the used cd market’ Especially with the future advances in designing with and for digital playback.

    2. I have the original 2 cd studio recording of Train to Lhasa and the new 20th anniversary CDs. Unfortunately the dynamic range on the newer CDs are not as good as the original 2 cd version. There was also a 3 cd version released around the same time as the 2 cd version rare as hens teeth.

      • Yeah, that 3CD version of LTTL is epic! I wasn’t aware that any remastering had taken place?

    3. Hi John I decided to buy the original 3cd version again on discogs – saw a copy reasonably priced at last! Loved the original especially the magnum opus that is kincajou (Duck Astroid) all 43 minutes of it.

      I checked th dr in JRiver media player vs20. I haven’t listened to both versions back to back extensively yet. The new edition seems more compressed an indeed is louder.

      Thanks to your article I also ordered a 2nd hand copy of the original live at Glastonbury.

      Sorry if I’ve gone off subject below:
      On a different note – one of the best downloads I have purchased in terms of dynamic range is Atlanta live – Porcupine Tree on burning shed – I managed to buy some PT vinyl there too! The dr of the PT CDs are suprisingly poor. The DVD-A albums are much better.

      Oh and I know you like me are a big talking heads fan – if you haven’t heard them yet buy the brick DVD-A boxset, my god they are astonishing recordings. I bought remain in light on LP back in 1985. I played it on a crappy record player I used to have back in blighty. I listen to same album on DVD-A – it’s a revalation, “Houses in motion” never sounded so good. In fact all the albums are superb.

        • Hi John,

          I just ripped the DVD-A stereo layer from the brick boxset and they are collectively outstanding. I have not listened to the cd layer yet I’m away from home atm.

          I would wager any top flight headphone (I’m using the pioneer Se master 1 in balanced config) with GSX mk2 amp and mirus DAC both in balanced and the results are compelling. I’m sure the hifiman he1k would be equally superb.

          The HDtracks version of remain in light I suspect is from the same master as their dr & file size are the same. Unfortunately the HDTRACKS TH77 and speaking in tongues are heavily compressed and I would not recommend them. Some of the older cd realeases (originals) are well mastered too. I just think the layers of detail in TH77, MSAB&F, FOM RIL, LC, TS DVD-A are all astonishing. To my ears better than cd and some of the vinyl releases. More songs about buildings & Food bests the cd I had (possibly a remaster) by a country mile. Listening to the DVD-a stereo layer reminded me why I liked talking heads back in the day, it also showed me their astounding musicianship.

          • Good to know – I have all the DVD-A rips somewhere on my server. Another vote for physical digital media! 🙂

            • Can’t wait to listen to all the DVD-A rips on my stereo set up back home. I think it will sound amazing on my Diatone DS-5000 speakers! The only album I failed to copy to my laptop was Naked. I can’t wait to listen to Mr Jones and nothing but flowers hi-rez.

              John I highly recommend giving them another late night listen say one album at a time, with either decent headphones or speakers.

            • The only drawback with physical media is the extortionate cost of postage these days.

              I payed 1.50 (pounds) for Freak Power – Drive thru booty (Norman Cook Pre fatboyslim) and then had to pay 7 pounds for shipping from UK to Sydney 🙁

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