St. Germain

St. Germain

Boulevard: New Version – The Complete Series

F Communications

Despite the enormous critical praise bestowed on artists who in most circumstances deserve it, there are always those who preceded and actually caused the initial stir that often get overshadowed. Ludovic Navarre, a.k.a. St. Germain, is one of these overlooked artists, but in his case, the reclusive Frenchman would prefer it that way. Tying hot jazz, dub, and dance together like shoelaces, St. Germain paved the way for the now acclaimed Parisian dance culture, and with Boulevard, praise is finally due.

Though only eight tracks are offered, each one extends such a lengthy, intriguing invitation, that multiple listens are necessary before the rapturous, sexy sounds swallow you whole. “Deep In It” combs the fields of funk-slapped house that owes much to its namesake, while “Street Scene” provides us a 15-minute dissertation of how dance polyrhythms can be traced back to jazz, eventually meeting up in structured, meditative grooves.

Although this re-release predates Navarre’s landmark 2000 LP Tourist by over half a decade, it nonetheless sends us a message that this fusion has long been tinkered with. Acts like St. Germain just know the proper formula to make it sound ever so blissful. As with the latter release, Boulevard will keep you traveling its winding, soulful paths over and over again.

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