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HALL OF FAME: LAURENT GARNIER

Laurent Garnier is one of the most important, influential figures in electronic music in the last 25 years.

 Turned onto the possibilities of disco and discos when he was a kid, he began visiting clubs in his home city of Paris and recording and mixing on rudimentary tape recorders at home when he was 16. Moving to England to work as a waiter in London, by 1987 he was living in Manchester working as a chef.He soon discovered the Hacienda nightclub, just as the warehouse space was becoming the crucial catalyst for the explosion of acid house in the UK.

Seduced by the nascent house and techno being played by DJs such as Mike Pickering and Graeme Park, Garnier started DJing himself as DJ Pedro and immersing himself in the scene. When he had to move back to Paris to do military service, he was horrified to find that there was no real equivalent acid house explosion in Paris as there had been in London and Manchester. He started the Wake Up! parties at the Rex Club in Paris to try to help kick-start a scene.

He started producing his own music, releasing tracks on FNAC such as airy techno-acid classic 'Acid Eiffel' as Choice, and when this label went bust he started up his own label, F Communications, with Eric Morand, who had also worked at FNAC. F-Comm was to prove to be one of the most important French labels of the '90s, releasing music by Mr Oizo, St Germain, Aqua Bassino, A Reminiscent Drive, Jori Hulkkonen, Scan X, and Garnier himself.

His first two albums on F-Comm, 'Shot In The Dark' and '30' — the latter of which included UK hit technoid belter 'Crispy Bacon' — enhanced the rep he'd already built up as an international DJ, but it wasn't until 'Unreasonable Behaviour' that he really went supernova. Laurent's third album included the single 'The Man With The Red Face', with its extraordinary deep burrowing bassline and jazz sax inflections. Still regarded as one of the finest techno records ever made, it spurred Garnier to tour a spectacular live show around the world.

 

Cementing residencies at clubs such as The End in London, he would invariably play All Night Long — starting chilled and eclectic, building up through peaks and troughs of every imaginable genre. In parallel with his club DJ career, he held down radio shows since the early '90s, and when he moved outof Paris in 2003 he set up his own radio station in his basement to transmit Pedro Broadcast – his own 24-hour internet radio station, allowing him to play the vast array of music he's sent every week.

In 2003 Garnier also released 'Excess Baggage', a five-disc CD that included diverse recordings such as his celebrated closing set at Sonar festival in Barcelona a few years before. He also published Electrochoc, autobiographical musings on his time spent in Manchester, Detroit and many other crucial marks in the sand for the development of electronic music.

After 2005's more experimental 'The Cloud-Making Machine', Laurent has composed music for films, ballet and dance productions. He made 'Tales Of A Kleptomaniac' in 2009 to explore alt.hip-hop, reggae and jazz, and in 2010 started his LBS project – Live Booth Sessions – that allowed for live improvised keys and brass to be added to sets often played straight out of the DJ booth.

He's an inspiration who's latterly offered cool labels such as Ed Banger and Crosstown Rebels his dancefloor productions, and continues to remain ultimately relevant to this day.

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