Manchester made and Parisian based label head, DJ, producer, artist and re-mixer Laurent Garnier unleashes a double disc celebration of his work twelve years on from Shot in the Dark and the advent of F Communications. The French former embassy worker holds legendary status. He’s renowned for cross continental and multi-generic influence when DJ’ing at the Hacienda and having a prolific and eclectic discography. Packed with a myriad of styles and favourites and rarities, Retrospective is an intriguing mixed bag.
“Crispy Bacon” practically drips with ash and sweat amidst its Space Invaders techno charm. The previously vinyl only “6 Months Earlier” exudes Balearic ambience and aims for the stratosphere. There are interpretations of others too. The edit of Carl Craig’s “Demented” is suitably rabid and made for a crowd, while DJ Marky’s “Butterfly” is worthy of Pork records in the deep warm house stakes before embarking on an MJ Cole shudder.
The live collaborative tracks with Norwegian Jazz keyboardist Bugge Wesseltoft are incredible. There’s so much energy wrapped in an impeccable structure. These versions of “Man with the Red Face” and “Acid Eiffel” are ominous, exhilarative and vital. “Barbiturik Blues” wanders darkened trip-hop alleys after DJ Krush and Portishead. “For Max” has Rae and Christian’s nicotine verve. I’m overwhelmed by the number of different sounds and styles on offer. A remix of Elegia’s “Basic” is widescreen and floor filling friendly techno, while the playful chaos of “Astral Dreams” could fit onto a Soma compilation unnoticed. The closing “Le Voyage de Sunshine” has tranquil unease to rival anything by UNKLE, and perhaps a touch of the Angelo Badalamenti’s in the murk.
This collection covers large chunks of the dance spectrum, and the quality is constant. This is a superior best of. A cohesive, enjoyable listen, indicating to the listener that it offers only a surface scratch. For those in thrall to the electronic, Retrospective is a welcome treat.
Soma Recordings – Soma Ten Anthology
Laurent Garnier/Various Artists – Excess Luggage
Various Artists – Megasoft Office 2005