- French DJ and Producer, Laurent Garnier unleashes a massive 5 box set (in which the 3 retail discs will be reviewed here). Excess Luggage consists of 5 live mixed releases, the first 3 discs being available in shops and the final 2 discs only available from the online F-Communications shop (www.fcomshop.com). So what rae these discs about? Essentially they are live recordings between 1998 and 2002 from random settings, such as the Sonar Festival in Barcelona, Live in Detroit in 2002, and a live mix from Pedro’s Broadcasting basement (the 3 mixes available in shops). The other 2 mixes, Live at the Rex Club in France, 1998, and the BBC Radio 1 Mix in 2002 are as I mentioned, only available at the Fcomshop. It’s a great idea, and it really showcases what Laurent Garnier is all about.
The first disc, Mix at Sonar, June 2000, begins quite nicely with ‘When we Used to Play’ by Blake Baxter. The quirky tech house vibes are showcased early with Nick Holder’s ‘Erotic Illusions’ as well as ‘Dream Girl’ by Pierre Fantasy Club. The mix though, also jumps from different styles, such as ‘Don’t Tell Me’ by Freestyle Orchestra and ‘Underwater’ by Point G which are some solid house selections. There’s a bit of Acid on there with E Dancers ‘Feel The Mood’, a bit of classic action with Inner City in ‘Good Life’. ‘Acid Thunder’ by Fast Eddie is without doubt a highlight as is ‘My English Lover’ by Joeski and the piano filled ‘String Free’ by Phortune. The mix as a whole is a nice varied, and probably more downtempo then the techno Laurent is often known for, showcase of what this man is all about.
The pace is slightly turned up with the 2nd cd, Mix in Detroit, December 2002. The baselines feature early with ‘High Tech Jazz’ by Galaxy 2 Galaxy and the brilliant ‘Aurelon’ by Vince Watson. The mix goes into quirky town with ‘Bassick Element’ by Radioactive Man, and then the pace builds with Slam in ‘Bass Addiction’ followed by the smooth strings and clattering beats of ‘Abuses on Rachel’ by Moody Preachers. Hutton Drive provide arguably one of the most unique and devastating productions with ‘It’s Dark…And I’m Not Afraid’. Heiko Laux also feature with their trademark vibes in ‘Souldancer’ as does the man himself Laurent Garnier, with his classic ‘Man With the Red Face’. The mix ends off superbly with ‘Desire’ by 69. A definite class disc from a city renowned for its class in music.
The PBB Late Night Mix is last but not least, and as the name suggest it showcases the downtempo side of Laurent. There are stunning tracks throughout, with the first being ‘Emil Zapotek ‘52’ by Console. French vocals also feature with ‘Madame Reve’ by Alain Bashung, but id much rather prefer the unique and quirky sounds of Lowtec’s ‘Mitre Peak’. The orchestral soundscape and quirky effects of ‘Hana’ by Asa Chang & Junray are pure quality, as are the delicate piano stylings and soothing vocals of ‘Strange Fruit’ by John Martyn. The Arabic vibes of ‘Red Desert’ by Claude Chalhoub are a great addition shortly before Australia’s own Pnau conclude the mix with ‘The Last Track’.
Overall this is a great idea by the French label, F-Communications, to release a showcase of live mixes by one of the greatest DJ's on the planet. The great thing about these mixes is variety, as there are an abundance of musical styles and sounds to ponder through. It’s all mixed very well, and live, which will please the purists, but most of all the results sound very, very good.