Read: Laurent Garnier – Electrochoc
Garnier's hefty memoir has already been released to great acclaim in France, and it’s easy to see why – even in translation, the Gallic DJ's sheer up-for-it nuttiness is a pleasure to read. From his early days banging it out to summer of love ravers in Manchester and Blackpool, right up to his present day status as France’s godfather of techno, this is as much of a history and contextualisation of dance music as it is about Garnier’s individual journey.
He’s pretty much got all the bases covered – giddy tales of driving through the night with lunatics to play one rave after the next, first hand accounts of the British police breaking up illegal raves, insightful commentary on the race politics in Detroit techno, and unapologetic digs at current EDM jokers who he thinks are filling the dance scene with non-descript ‘product’, specifically citing Hardwell, Van Doorn, Benny Benassi and Dada Life as suckers, then, entertainingly, launching a long defence of David Guetta, that goes as far as to hand a few pages over to Guetta to explain himself.
A few other (slightly more worthy) icons pop up and get a long chunk to talk – Jeff Mills, Mike Banks and Francois Kevorkian offer illumination throughout, and Garnier riffs off their memories and his own to place the development of dance music in an international timeline, reporting on events in England, Germany, Spain, France, America and more with a cohesion and sense of overview that has been rarely managed.
Crucially, he also remembers the key point to all the madness. Throughout the text he happily diverts off onto glittery musings over the power and joy of dancing and DJing, and seems more than aware that he’s got a fucking great job, that he loves a lot. Finally, just to keep the ‘spotter in you satisfied, the book comes with a detailed index (so often missed out in this kinda thing…) and it's margins filled with countless charts and playlists, covering everything from the tunes you might hear at clubs from Mud Club to Berghain, to genre round ups, from dubstep to Detroit.
As DJs get older and the scene becomes increasingly respectable, we’ll be seeing a more and more of these memoir/ autobiographies emerging – and Garnier (with, it should be noted, help from writer David Brun-Lambert) has gone right in and set the bar high. Now let's see Dave Clarke knock one out….