Mute’s re-release of French techno artist Laurent Garnier’s 1997 album 30 is depressing. Apparently a lot of people find 30 to be exemplary techno music, since the reputable Mute label is again making the out-of-print album available. This is tres Eurotrashie techno, and unless you’ve got a chocolate martini in one hand and a fist full of pills in the other, it’s not much to get excited about.
Garnier’s place in late-’90s techno history is more than a blip on that scene’s radar screen, perhaps partially justifying the album’s re-release. He founded the Parisian dance club Wake Up, as well as the F. Communications record label. But a good businessman doesn’t necessarily an interesting musician make. After an ambient opening track and select moments of vaguely interesting electronic layering, 30 is mostly music appropriate for teenage girls to shake it to. The m.o. is a robotic driving beat layered with a couple samples, then (in what I guess is supposed to be a super-chic climax) another very simple element of the beat comes in later — very basic layering, essentially. And to construct an entire song (“The Hoe”) around the voice sample of a guy saying “She ain’t nothin’ but a hoe” is immature and silly. I’d even be tempted to say “offensive” if it seemed like Garnier really were a nuanced and thoughtful musician. Notice I’m not saying it.
– Re-release: Orig released 03 31 07