Laurent Garnier

Okay, who hijacked France's most successful techno DJ/producer and replaced him with a brooding film composer who created a beatless electronic soundtrack to a nonexistent movie? This might make Garnier sound like he's up his own conceptual ass, but The Cloud Making Machine is surprisingly fun, especially during the brief moments when it's in danger of slipping into self-indulgence. The sheer bombast of clashing bells and crispy snares surrounding the spoken-word samples in "First Reaction (V2)" could easily be mistaken for the work of any competently soulful hip-hop producer. And that, perhaps, is the most delightful surprise in a package full of them.

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Tamara Palmer