TransGlobal Underground is a U.K.-based collective fusing as many different kinds of world music as its members can get their hands on.
The group’s core is composed of vocalist Natacha Atlas (who has recorded with Jah Wobble, Apache Indian, and her own band, Atlas Project), keyboardist Alex Kasiek, drum programmer Man Tu, and founder, bassist and sampler Count Dubulah. The project grew out of a mutual love for dance, avant-garde, Arabic, and world music and draws on each member’s listening tastes and cultural backgrounds.
Their debut album, Dream of 100 Nations, was released in 1994, quickly followed by International Times. After 1995’s Interplanetary Meltdown, TransGlobal Underground returned in 1997 with Psychic Karaoke. Rejoice, Rejoice followed a year later and Yes Boss Food Center appeared in spring 2001.
The music of Banco de Gaia is mostly categorized as ambient dub and downtempo. Marks works to cross genres, often using Arabic and Middle Eastern samples against a bass heavy reggae, rock, or trance rhythm to produce deeply textured tracks that progress layer upon layer. He first delved into electronic music in 1989, when he bought a digital sampler. The first tune he recorded on it was called “Maxwell House”. Having cut his teeth on the early 90s ambient dub compilations, in 1994 he released his first studio album Maya on Planet Dog records, which was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize on its release. It was followed in 1995 by the critically acclaimed Last Train to Lhasa. Both albums reached No. 1 in the UK independent charts and featured in the national album chart top 40. In the following decade Banco De Gaia released Live at Glastonbury, Big Men Cry, The Magical Sounds of Banco De Gaia, Igizeh and You Are Here.In 1997, Banco De Gaia put together a five-piece band that included Ted Duggan (drums), Ashley Hopkins (bass), Larry Whelan (wind synth, saxophone and ethnic flutes), and Gary Spacey-Foot (percussion and saxophones). The band reduced in number to just Marks, Duggan, and Hopkins in 1999, and then just Marks and Duggan from 2000 until 2003, when Marks went back to being a solo artist. On 20 September 2009, Banco De Gaia played an album launch show for his album Memories Dreams Reflections at Dingwalls in London. This show was to celebrate 20 years of Banco De Gaia. Marks was joined on stage by three members from the original five-piece band: Hopkins, Whelan, and Duggan and vocalist Maya Preece, who sang on the latest album.