Album Reviews

Laurent Garnier – Public Outburst

(F Comm, featuring) UK release date: 13 August 2007

Jazz and techno. Not two styles you’d select as musical bedfellows: one dealing in improvisation, the other with more rigid confines of beats and structure.

And yet Laurent Garnier is one of the few people to successfully exploit common ground between the two. Beginning with his Man With The Red Face single back in 2000, Garnier has managed to bring an improvisatory quality to his music without compromising the love of a good solid dance beat.

Public Outburst represents a wonderful flourishing of the two, and in the nature of the beast it looks to have come around through chance meetings, spare studio time and an instinctive musical chemistry. Garnier’s quartet comprises the prolific Bugge Wesseltoft on keyboards, Philippe Nadaud on bass and Benjamin Rippert again on keyboards. Garnier, Wesseltoft and Nadaud have built up a performance history of jazz-heavy electronic music, but, now joined by Rippert, this is the first examination of their work by long player.

Wesseltoft in particular has previous with Garnier, and played the sax line on Man With The Red Face. He it is that brings the fractured treble material to Public Outbursts, small nuggets of melody that blossom through their development to provide surprisingly catchy soundbites. While this development takes place Garnier busies himself elsewhere in the mix, with the expansive 63 weaving synthesizers in and out of the texture, the slow but taut rhythm generating a palpable tension.

This tension finds an explosive release in the drum and bass rhythms of M Bass, a dynamic workout that draws in effectively disembodied vocals. The reaction of the live audience, who it seems were rapt throughout, speaks volumes for the intensity of the performance.

Lovers of the four to the floor Garnier kick drum will not be disappointed either, as Controlling The House sets course for the middle of the dancefloor with impressive urgency, while retaining an easy ambience in the keyboard line. This ambience shows up again in Barbiturik Blues, where a lazy low register clarinet rasps through scattered sounds from the Garnier effects department, coming to the fore and sparring with keyboards at the end.

The press release modestly describes these as jamming sessions, the implication that they were put together as footnotes while the quartet concentrated on other projects. The music tells a different story, the perpetrators’ varied backgrounds coming together on an album of intense musicality.

Add to this a DVD of videos of Man With The Red Face and M Bass, and you have a package whose worth is well nigh impossible to ignore.

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More on Laurent Garnier
Interview: Laurent Garnier
Laurent Garnier – Public Outburst
Laurent Garnier @ National Film Theatre, London