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Ghislain Poirier


Putting a finger on exactly what kind of music Ghislain Poirier makes is difficult. He operates at the fringes of electronic music, defying the canard of genre categorization. He produces music that fits nowhere, yet taps into the same post-millennial Zeitgeist mined by such artist as Prefuse 73, DJ/rupture, Diplo and a host of other universally-minded, aesthetic dabblers. But even in a field of giants, the tireless Montreal producer is considered restless and slippery. Poirier's first stop on the musical Ferris wheel was the minimal techno and ambient textures of his 2001 debut, Il N'y a Pas de Sud. One may be tempted to label the music on that album progressive or futuristic, but there's something very primal at play, with change occurring at the fringes, masked and anonymous, and oftentimes seemingly the byproduct of chance and corrosion.

For his next set of releases -- a series of remixes and comp appearances capped off by 2002's Sous le Manguier -- Poirier began to open up his sound a bit more. The influence of hip-hop producers such as Public Enemy's infamous production group the Bomb Squad and Gangstarr beatsmith DJ Premier -- both of whom intermingled dissonance and rhythm -- was becoming more evident in Poirier's work. But there was also a globally-minded aesthetic at play that would become even more evident with subsequent releases such as 2003 albums Conflict and Beats as Politics. Hints of island music such as ragga and dancehall were sharing space with German techno, Brazilian favela funk and British 2-step. Poirier was drifting further away from the minimal glitch of Autechre and closer to the kitchen sink approach shared by critical darling DJ/rupture. Vocals were also becoming more prominent; indie emcee Diverse appeared on Politics.

Meanwhile, Poirier was, at long last, beginning to get the recognition that his music deserved. He opened for it-girl Lady Sovereign on her first North American tour and did remix work for Sovereign, French rap outfit TTC and Pulseprogramming. His next album, 2005's Breakupdown, further explored the idea of a vocal presence and featured guest spots by Anti Pop Consortium poo-bah Beans as well as Lotek Hi-Fi, Omnikron and Seba. It also featured an expanded sonic palate, incorporating Baltimore club music and U.K. grime. And while Poirier may have switched up styles, his minimalist approach remained largely unchanged, as did his distinction as one of today's most interesting and mercurial producers.
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