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St. Germain - Tourist Print E-mail
Tuesday, 30 May 2000

St. Germain

format: CD
label: Blue Note
release year: 2000
performance: 9
sound 8
reviewed by: Brian Kahn

ImageTourist is an amazing album that will find many fans from all sorts of backgrounds. Whether for traditional jazz fans or house-techno fans, "Tourist" fulfills the listener’s hopes. I recently was fortunate enough to attend a St. Germain show in Los Angeles. Despite the show being late on a Wednesday evening, the venue was packed to the rafters. The crowd ranged from those in their late teens with unnaturally colored hair and numerous piercings to those who appeared to be mild-mannered baby boomers just shy of receiving their AARP benefits. Despite the vastly different backgrounds, everyone in attendance was enjoying the music. Easily 95 percent of the crowd never stopped dancing. It’s rare to find music that engages such an eclectic crowd the way St. Germain does.

DJ Ludovic Navarre borrows the name St. Germain from an 18th-century entertainer who performed for French ruler Louis XV. Navarre was a pioneer of the French Touch, the electronic genre that includes bands such as Daft Punk.

The music itself is a mix of jazz, r&b, techno and house, heavily reminiscent of Moby. While I enjoyed the entire album, my two favorite tracks are "Rose Rouge" and "So Flute." "Rose Rouge" is the first track of the album and one of only two vocal tracks. The vocals bring one back to the era of classical jazz and are actually sampled from Marlena Shaw's Live at Montreux." "So Flute" features amazing flute work by Edouard Labor, set to a strong catchy rhythm.

The sound quality of the album is outstanding. The recording captures much of their live performance. "So Flute," an exercise in exuberant flute playing and supported with steel drums, is portrayed well on the album. I could clearly hear the unique sound of the metal drums as well as the exquisite detail of Labor’s flute work.

Tourist was my first taste of the French band St. Germain and it was truly delicious, leaving me hungry for more. Highly recommended.

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