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The Cloud Making Machine

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Album Review

Numerous veteran producers of dance music made safe albums throughout the early 2000s. They either confined themselves to being inspired by nothing but their past releases or lost their way entirely, turning out muck that didn't illuminate any more than a nondescript chillout compilation. Laurent Garnier, however, takes more chances than ever with The Cloud Making Machine, a sprawling, moody album guaranteed to throw longtime fans for a loop (if 2000's Unreasonable Behaviour didn't do it, this one will). The producer is joined by several musicians, including pianist Bugge Wesseltoft, vocalist/oud player Dhafer Youssef, and percussionist Sangoma Everett. In a sense, the album is an extension of 2004's Excess Luggage, his imposing five-disc mix that took in Detroit techno, Chicago house, film scores, dour chamber pop group Tindersticks and British folk-hero John Martyn. Few tracks are related in any way to the dancefloor, and even those are slightly bent, regularly funneling into compositions that inspire deep thought. The whole thing is more visual than visceral. While some producers are content with making albums that take few risks and no more than a couple spins to understand and quickly forget, The Cloud Making Machine requires a lot more from its listener. It's often impenetrable and there are a couple derailments — hear the Stooges-inspired knuckle dragger "(I Wanna Be) Waiting for My Plane," which also turns out to be Garnier's "We're an American Band" — but it's never off-putting.

Biography

Born: 01 February 1966 in Boulogne Sur Seine, France

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A former staffer at the embassy in London, Frenchman Laurent Garnier began DJing in Manchester during the late '80s. By the following decade, he had become one of the best all-around DJs in the world, able to span classic deep house and Detroit techno, the harder side of acid/trance, and surprisingly jazzy tracks as well. He added production work to his schedule in the early...
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The Cloud Making Machine, Laurent Garnier
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