Oh, to live in a city where bands without electric guitars perform on a regular basis. Such as Boston, say, where late last month the Montreal-based producer and deejay Ghislain Poirier appeared on tour with his current labelmate, the emcee Lady Sovereign. Think of Poirier as the introverted, somewhat more cultivated yin to Sovereign's provincially urban yang: As a producer, his style is decidedly multi-culti and collage-like -- Breakupdown features emcees rapping in both French and English, for instance, and the tracks are split almost evenly between electronic dance-floor creations and reggae and electronic flavored hip hop. What's more, at least according to Poirier's publicist, "he was even asked by professors at M.I.T. to come spin and ... lecture because they consider him to be a true 'sound architect.'"
That sounds about right, although the same could probably be said about scores of other post-hip-hop producers and deejays (DJ Shadow comes to mind). But what ultimately sets Breakupdown apart, aside from its tasteful groove and eminent danceability -- which doesn't let up once throughout the album -- is its blissful disregard of electronic and hip-hop trends. During a recent interview with Chartattack, Poirier refreshingly expressed ambivalence toward the unclassifiable nature of his work: "This is the way I'm living," he said. "I'm listening to a lot of music. I'm totally Quebecois. I'm speaking French as my mother tongue, so I'm really happy to put some French rappers on my album."
Which is exactly the attitude that make Poirier's work unique. "If somebody is good," he said, in the same interview, "I like it, whatever language it's in." Amen.