- Last Train to Lhasa

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Last Train to Lhasa is perhaps the most ambitious album in Banco de Gaia’s extensive discography. The original release was a double-CD, but there are many other versions floating around, including the definitive 20th Anniversary Edition released on four discs in 2015. So what have we here? Ambient techno meets world music, essentially. It is very much in the same ballpark as The Orb or The Future Sound of London but more overtly multicultural, sampling instrumentation and vocals from a wide assortment of mostly Eastern sources. Despite the title there is no particular emphasis on Tibetan sounds; this is an ode to transnationalism. And the music? Almost universally warm and soothing, but not especially memorable. I happen to enjoy the title track and Amber, possibly because of my affinity for beat-driven electronic music, but there’s plenty to explore here for any fan of “ethnic” downtempo.