St Germain - Boulevard (The Complete Series)

UPC: 5413356983319
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Ludovic Navarre is known the world over as a master of the sophisticated gallic groove, thanks to his brilliant sophomore album Tourist in 2000, but Boulevard was the LP that first put him on the musical map. It's essentially a compilation of the three EPs he released during the mid-90s, an elegant mix of African rhythms, slick jazzuality and deep house grooves that presages Tourist by a good five years.

Featuring a host of musicians who add trumpet, sax, flute, piano and percussion, Boulevard begins with the seven-minute "Deep in It"- all floating jazz chords, vibes and warm synths that wrap themselves around a muffled, slick beat. "Thank U Mum" is slightly meatier, fuelled by staccato drum riddims and propelled by a gorgeously bowed bass line that snakes lazily along. This track is a whopping 12 minutes long: St Germain may be a lot of things, but he's not in a hurry.

There's more on here than just elegant deep house though. "Street Scene" rides a low hip-hop beat and conjures up the blaxploitation scenes of 70s flicks with slick jazz–funk grooves, and "Dub Experience 2" does what it says on the tin. The irresistible simplicity with which these tunes are delivered hides the complexity and sophistication of the arrangements and thus makes it entertaining on a few different levels.

Heavyweight double vinyl produced by PIAS France for F Communications. UK Import. 

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