You trudge through scorching desert sand. The sun beats down on you with merciless heat, and there’s no shelter or shade of any kind to be seen. You collapse onto your knees, hang your head low, and close your eyes. The sand begins to vibrate, and you are pulled underneath. Right as your face is covered, you fall a short distance into a small pool of icy, shallow water. Bright colors and vivid sounds surround you in what looks like paradise . . .
An artist’s duty isn’t always to be the exclusive creative source behind their music; sometimes, the true genius flows when an artist steps back and plays more of a “dot-connector” role, bringing together diverse artists of equally premium caliber and facilitating the magic. The self-titled St Germain is the newest full-length from French producer Ludovic Navarre, joined by a collective of incredibly talented Malian musicians.
Navarre’s chameleonic sound is a tad difficult to pin down, but the lush, meditative compositions possess elements of deep house and nu jazz. The subtle ring leader’s electronic grooves are vividly embellished by contributions from Guimba Kouyate’s guitar and n’goni, Mamadou Cherif Soumano’s kora, and the powerful vocals of Fanta Bagayogo. These are rich, comforting atmospheres ripe with compelling ideas.
There’s something to be said about beauty created from mixing seemingly disparate convictions, experiences, and influences. We have to keep moving forward, arm in arm with those that are much different than ourselves. This record is a treasure of gorgeous improvisation, and a firm testament to the power of communal diversity. If you’re seeking meditative, Malian-influenced deep house/nu jazz, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)