The Cloud Making Machine, sees Garnier reworking a film score he made for a movie...
Paul Sullivan 2005
Laurent Garnier, France's most respected (and outspoken) techno ambassador, has always tried to promote diversification within his electronic grooves.
His new project, The Cloud Making Machine, sees him reworking a film score he made for a movie about homelessness in France, and is at least in part a celebration of the diverse tastes he has showcased on albums like his recent Life:Styles compilation (featuring tracks from Van Morrison, Can, Serge Gainsbourg and Miles Davis) and Excess Luggage, a 5 disc collection of his mix sessions from Sonar, Detroit and Club Rex in Paris.
The live elements he has gradually been introducing into his studio sessions over the years are purposefully emphasized here as he teams up with his usual collective of musician and sound designer pals but also hot established talent like Norwegian jazz don Bugge Wesseltoft and Tunisian singer/oude player Dhafer Youssef.
Not that he has abandoned all dancefloor sensibilities; instead he has merely demoted his pulsing four-to-the-floor structures to the background and given more attention to intimate moods, scenic atmospheres, visualized emotions and a range of textures.
The title track is one of the album's obvious successes - an exploratory freeform affair created via an intriguing collision of Wesseltoftian improvisation and Garnier's accomplished riddims. Another stand out is the wonderfully haunting 'Huis Clos' (alongside Youssef).
Such elaborate and intimate gestures are combated, as any good cinematic soundtrack should be, by contrastive elements such as the eerie electro of '9.01-9.06', the tense hip-hop of 'First Reaction' and the disco-fied 'Controlling the House Pt. 2', which shows monsieur's satirical side.
Beautifully idiosyncratic and dangerously ambitious, The Cloud Making Machine is not an album to groove to. But it is by far Garnier's most experimental and personal work and should establish him as a serious long-term entity, both inside and outside of the techno world.