Elec­tronic

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Tim McNa­mara

St Ger­main St Ger­main Par­lophone

Re­leased in 2000, St Ger­main’s sopho­more al­bum Tourist joined the dots be­tween lounge, deep house, jazz and soul like few oth­ers of­fer­ings of its time. Tracks such as the Miles Davis and John Lee Hooker-sam­pling Sure Thing and the jazzy So Flute saw the al­bum chalk up more than three mil­lion sales, gain­ing Lu­dovic Navarre a rep­u­ta­tion as one of few pro­duc­ers with the then much-hyped French touch. The Parisian’s epony­mous fol­low-up shows the years have not wea­ried his stu­dio nous. Navarre has chan­nelled strong, some­times dark, African in­flu­ences to cre­ate a soul­ful, oft-hyp­notic and im­pro­vi­sa­tional mu­si­cal jour­ney. Tra­di­tional Malian in­stru­ments, in­clud­ing kora, ngoni and bal­a­fon, ap­pear along­side more tra­di­tional in­stru­men­ta­tion and orig­i­nal and sam­pled vo­cals to cre­ate eight rich and emo­tive tunes of vary­ing tem­pos. Real Blues, with its wan­der­ing and vi­brant per­cus­sive el­e­ments, is a bouncy, playful al­bum opener whose sub­tle elec­tronic thump lets the moan­ing vo­cal of Amer­i­can blues singer Light­nin’ Hop­kins take cen­tre stage. Sit­tin’ Here is a warm afro-house of­fer­ing that sees a soar­ing vo­cal from Na­hawa Doumbia com­bine with plucky strings to form a rolling groove. Voila, mean­while, lets the strings of the West African ngoni shine, and their sprin­kling on top of deep bass and per­cus­sion cre­ates a nice plat­form for Fanta Ba­gayogo’s vo­cal. How Dare You is no­table for its open­ing bluesy vo­cal and fre­netic mish­mash of in­stru­men­ta­tion. St Ger­main is no­tably less up-tempo than Tourist, but for an al­bum that has been in pro­duc­tion since 2006, Navarre’s per­fec­tion­ist streak pays div­i­dends.

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