Gaia Gaia

The band name may be cringe-worthy, but when Ramachandra Borcar puts his production hat on, good things usually follow. Gaia are a Brazilian band from Montreal, and like the best music from Brazil, many different influences of pop styles and technology are at play. The disc opens very strongly with a track that will make Gilles Peterson take note; "Maracuja” has the group’s main elements in place: a bubbling, multi textured Rhodes and continually modulating, heavily percussive but airy grooves. "Olha O Trem” sounds like it’s going to be a power ballad at first, but breaks into some convincing funk featuring legendary Brazilian singer Elza Soares. At just over one minute, "Habla Peru” is too brief to be the killer Festejo Afro-Peruvian workout it could have been, but better to leave us wanting more — and whetting the appetite for a concert. Borcar’s production is crisp, with an ear to the dance floor, and incorporated subtle jazz and dub influences with deft electronic touches. This is not some toothless crowd pleasing disc; it should attract international attention with its polish. (Jajou)