St Germain - St GermainNonesuch
Fifteen years is a long gap between album releases, especially when your previous LP is the critically acclaimed "Tourist". For DJ/Producer Ludovic Navarre better known as St Germain it was necessary to go in another direction As a result he embarked on an inspirational path that led him to the rhythms of West Africa and the blues. This creative journey has culminated into an extraordinary collaboration with Malian guitarist Guimba Kouyate. The new self-titled LP showcases Navarre's superb use of loops and sampling in conjunction with strong musicianship from Kouyate and others. "Real Blues" is a myriad of rhythms ranging from the wooden vibe like Balafon to Kouyate's electric guitar riffs. Not to mention the sampling of Lightnin' Hopkins. "Sittin Here" is bursting with infectious percussion and Kouyate's soloing and vocals. "How Dare You"once again features Kouyate's vocals alongside the sampled vocals of Lightnin' Hopkins. This union of the Blues and the music of Mali feels like a perfect marriage. In addition Navarre's superb use of electronics complements the compositions as opposed to overpowering it. Make no mistake, this is a tremendous achievement.
Reg Dancy, 02/16