Although the last Laurent Garnier album I heard (30) was wildy un-even, it had some tracks that totally burnt the dancefloor down. Between "Crispy Bacon" and "Flashback," I boosted the overall score of the album a ways, simply because they rocked my world so hard. Unlike that album, though, RawWorks is more of a collection than an actual release. Over the course of 10 tracks and 72 minutes, the release compiles tracks from hard-to-find EPs and albums, as well as a couple choice remixers. Although there isn't as much variety as on the studio release, the overall quality of the songs is a little higher.
The disc starts off with the 8 minute-plus track "Butterfly." With sort of a mixture of straight full bore techno and a touch of trance, the track floats along for nearly two minutes before the kick beat starts a thumpin' for the majority of the rest of the track. It sounds very simplistic (as does the aforementioned "Crispy Bacon"), but it's all so well-constructed that all you can do is start to moving once you hear it. The next three tracks all come off Garniers Shot In The Dark LP, and they seem to dip into the acid sound a bit more. On "Astral Dreams," a couple of slowly progressing squiggles play off one another and weave in and out of the mix as they bounce off one anothers distortion and the solid beat. "Rex Attitude" takes a little more minimal (and somewhat more repetitive) approach in using some of the same techniques, while the third track in the series ("Rising Spirit") slows things down quite a bit for a bit of ambient after the 4/4 stomps.
Things rev right back up on the next track, though, with the somewhat cheesy "Orgasm." Although it has a solid beat and a catchy little melody that flirts with some nice distorted parts, there's are distorted silly vocals that run throughout the track and threaten to throw it off-course. After another nice, slowly progressing track that eventually kicks out the jams, things get a little more interesting again with the completely weird sounds of "Rachando O Bico." With an odd metallic sample and a completely loping offset beat, the track sounds too weird for the dancefloor, yet perfect for it at the same time. After another more ambient track, the disc closes out with two more solid tracks "Aquarius" and "Pigalle." While the former takes its time getting to things, the latter tears out of the gates right from the start and keeps it up for nearly the entirety of the track (despite the somewhat goofy sounding moaning sounds).
Overall, this is probably one of the best places to start if you're looking to get into Laurent Garnier. Not only is it sort of a compliation of his recordings, but the tracks that have been chosen are all fairly solid. There's even a pretty good mix of harder and quieter things (sometimes even within the course of one track) to keep things sounding fresh throughout the entirety of the long album. It's a good documentation of some of Garniers work, as well as some damn fine techno.