Recently signed to Ninja Tune, Montréaler Ghislain Poirier is renowned for big, dirty beats and riddims. Poirier emerged a few years back with jagged, techno-influenced instrumental hip-hop. Increasing time behind the decks at his influential local party, Bounce le Gros, led him into a wilder, dance-floor-oriented direction. A visual artist and former college radio DJ, Ghislain left the booth after five years to focus on producing music and has a string of productions on Ninja Tune, Chocolate Industries, Rebondir, Shockout, Musique Large and Intr_version record labels. Poirier has collaborated with MCs and DJs from across the globe, Beans (Warp) and DJ/Rupture
(Soot, Tigerbeat6), as well as Parisian heavy weights TTC
(Big Dada) and London’s Lotek Hi-Fi (Big Dada) and has remixed for Lady Sovereign (Def Jam), The Editors, Champion, Bassnectar, and Pierre Lapointe.
What a surprise then, that Poirier’s first release back in 2001 was a sparse, abstract record dropped on Taylor Dupree’s micro label 12k. Il N’y A Pas de Sud
, was composed in parts using an ageing PC with so little processing power that Poirier is forced to compose each work in parts and later piece them together. Ghislain combined elements of ambient music with sparse beats to create a new, fresh sound, blending broken melodies and blips with a version of the Berlin techno sound, resulting in a sparse blend of rhythm and space with a slow diffused groove. His second album, Sous Le Manguier
, came out in 2002 on Mitchell Akiyama’s Intr_version label. Moving on from the Basic Channel sound references, he honed in instead on the Burial Mix/Rhythm and Sound template, fusing minimal dub with an African inflections delivered through the use of Koras and other instruments. His second album for Intr-Version, Conflits
(2003) revolved more deeply around hip-hop.
At the same time Poirier launched Beats as Politics
on Chocolate Industries, another full length that featured micro-middle eastern samples, deep-beats, and collaborations with Diverse and French-Canadian rapper Séba rhyming in his mother tongue in a style similar to TTC. Ghislain Poirier’s move into avant-garde bass, was complete, his music still moulded in the lean lines of a recovering minimalist. Poirier’s cosmopolitan bass specialises in style meltdown from the soca of Trinidad and Tobago, to ragga from Guadeloupe, Creole rap from Haïti and over to African hip-hop, exploring collaborations with vocalists, and making joyful music (a lot harder than "experimental" according to Poirier).
In 2006, Poirier set up his own label, Rebondir Records, with the release of his Rebondir EP that featured remixes from Omnikron, TC, and Nik Myo. In late 2007 came his first album for Ninja Tune, No Ground Under
, a Bass/Crunk/Dubstep infusion featuring remixes from Face-T and The Bug. The single Blazin
was later remixed by Modeselektor
. Poirier’s current work is mostly original instrumental mixes and mixes featuring Montreal hip hop MCs including Omnikrom, Face-T and Séba. Performances are backed by a live drummer (to underscore the deep beats emanating from his own laptop) and vocalists.
He is also the founder of "Bounce le gros!" – 2005-2007 an irregular club night at Montreal’s Zoobizarre, a medieval dungeon located on the second floor of a mile-long strip mall where Poirier throws down "grime, crunk, hip-hop, ragga, reggae, booty house, Baltimore breaks… original urban music from all over the world" with top class guest DJs like: DJ/Rupture, The Bug, Kode 9, Matt Shadetek, Kid Kameleon, DJ C, TTC, Catchdubs, Caps & Jones, Certified Bananas and more.
Musical accomplishments aside, Ghislain Poirier is also a visual artist. He has had many solo exhibitions of his paintings and drawings in the city of Montréal, notably at the Maisons de la culture Côte-des-neiges, at the Galerie de l'île-des-moulins and at Atom Heart.
For fans of TTC, Lady Sovereign, and those interested in Hyperdub and Skull Disco, Soot Records and DJ/Rupture.
CTM.09 > FUNK MUNDIAL