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Laurent Garnier – 33 Tours Et Puis S’en Vont

Laurent Garnier – 33 Tours Et Puis S’en Vont

It’s been eight years since the last album from the iconic French techno DJ and the hotly anticipated follow-up to 2015’s La Home Box (running in at well over two hours long), proves to be an epic homage to the genre but one that perhaps also points to its future.

The album was conceived after a period of introspection and self-doubt during the pandemic when Laurent Garnier was deprived of his life-blood: DJing. This led him by his own admission to ‘turning his back’ on the genre. After this bout of paralyzing contemplation and uncertainty the itch for a return to sweaty night clubs and sound systems came back and Garnier finally switched back on his machines. The result is a defiant tribute to the dancefloor and techno in all its forms, a rousing at times nostalgic look back over a thirty-three-year career as an ambassador for the techno form, informed perhaps by his recent “Off The Record” film charting his life as a touring DJ.

The album opens contemplatively with the Alan Watts sampling ‘Tales From The Real World’ evoking the need to switch off our analytical brains and experience life and music as an act of visceral immersion.

As a DJ, Laurent Garnier has always been the master storyteller with emotion and narrative being primary tools in his often-extensive sets and he takes a similar approach to his productions with many of them coming in at over ten minutes in length. The album seems also linked by thematic messages about the power of music, and the need to step away, to listen more closely.

From the meditative musings of the sixties philosopher and counter-culture guru, we move on to the warehouse rave stylings of ‘Let The People Fair Le Fete’. Next, the album showcases one of several collaborative productions in the shape of ‘In Your Phase’ featuring rapper 22Carbone whose linguistic acrobatics are backed by a dark brooding electro-house soundscape and jacking South African rhythms. Dark, edgy and futuristic, it is a track that explores Laurent Garnier’s willingness to experiment with the genre in order to constantly revise and update its sound.  

Laurent Garnier – 33 Tours Et Puis S’en Vont

Elsewhere, ‘Reviens La Nuit’ is a buoyant pounding journey into European techno territory whose electronic throb references Ed Banger, Soulwax, Vitalik, nineties techno, Moroder and Cerrone in one fell swoop. Many of the tracks are underpinned by Garnier’s trademark growling basslines and dissonant dystopian drones that often crescendo into a wall of sound before the peak moment of each track.

‘Saturn Drive Triplex’ joins up the dots between punk and techno by sampling the late Alan Vega’s staccato off-beat delivery, his voice hovering gloriously between song and spoken word sermon. ‘Sado Miso’ sees Garnier develop his love of dominant bass as the noir ambience of the opening is replaced at the mid-point by a rolling excursion into drum and bass territory.

 Laurent Garnier – 33 Tours Et Puis S’en Vont CD

Laurent Garnier – 33 Tours Et Puis S’en Vont

‘Au Clair de ta Lune’ is an energetic slice of Detroit-inspired techno that jacks along on a bounding bass line reminiscent of Model 500’s ‘The Chase’, whilst dynamic tracks like ‘Sake Stars Fever’ ensure that the album has plenty of dancefloor orientated material. Despite the dancefloor focus it is still a sonically inventive journey absorbing influences such as seventies film soundtracks, rap, disco, deep house and drum and bass.

If ’33 Tours Et Puis S’en Vont’ is a farewell of sorts to the dancefloor (Laurent Garnier has revealed he will scale down his touring activities from 2024) then it is a triumphant one. In recent interviews, the DJ has admitted he does not want to become a ‘dusty old jukebox’, not that he is abandoning the decks completely just yet. Whilst some of his contemporaries have joined the commodification of the genre embracing the business techno bandwagon, Garnier has instead returned to the anonymity that was a feature of the early forms of techno through his Cod3QR label.


Laurent Garnier – 33 Tours Et Puis S’en Vont Cassette

Laurent Garnier – 33 Tours Et Puis S’en Vont

Here he defiantly demonstrates what he believes the genre still has to say. It is an LP that comes full circle echoing Laurent Garnier’s first album ‘Shot In The Dark’ but demonstrates the progressions and lessons learned over a lengthy career. The album may not be for everyone but it’s a trip that will satisfy those looking deeper, wanting to explore the roots of the genre and seeking an alternative vision for techno’s future away from the formulaic offerings that are all too prevalent today.

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