Legendary French producer Laurent Garnier joins the esteemed Kompakt roster with an excellent three-track EP, showcasing different sides of his sound.
The star of the show here is the first track, ‘1-4 Doctor C’est Chouette’, which is 11 minutes of sleek, melodic, mixing up melancholic melodies with restrained and unusual percussion loops. It’s a pretty slow builder, which only really begins to work up some urgency after the 2 minute-mark, but you’ll be glad Laurent Garnier doesn’t rush things, and there are plenty of pay-offs – the emergence of the warm bass tones after 3 minutes, the thrilling hi-hats that take off a minute later, the climactic sequence that follows the breakdown, and the long, emotional outro.
‘From the Crypt to the Astrofloor’ is another long track, beginning with a kick drum and some ominous drones and growls, before a sweeter melody starts to emerge. As the track unfolds, the main themes are carried by strings and drone-like sounds, creating something very otherworldly, a mood that’s further developed with busy, atonal synths – the ‘Astrofloor’ is just right. My favourite moments in the track come at the end, though – the gentle last two minutes let the strings and melodies shine, and it’s gorgeous.
Rounding out the EP, and ending it on a very different note, is the funky and fun but twisted ‘Swinging @ da Suga!’. A cheeky bassline sets the scene, before Laurent Garnier teases in some warped loops, giving the track a distinctive future-disco feel. The breakdown nicely plays up the nods to filtered disco-flavoured house while adding in more menacing metallic stabs, while the finale brightens things up with retro synths. It’s an effective piece of crossover material that’s likely to appeal to both house and techno heads, though it was my least favourite of the three tracks on the EP.
Laurent Garnier has been making classic techno and house records for longer than some producers currently on the scene have been alive, and his understanding of his craft is on full display here – this is a distinctive and innovative release showcasing both his deeper, more melodic side and his ability to knock-out a proper party record. Highly recommended.