ure, Ghislain Poirier is not sharing the same headspace as heavily hyped Montreal scene-setters Kevin Drew or Murray Lightburn, but he could very well be the leader of the next wave of media frenzy and a talented pool of Quebeçois table-turners and deck-mixers. Breakupdown serves a great dual purpose for the listener: it offers an excellent starting point for those unfamiliar with his previous solo and remixing work, and it also adequately fuels the desires of already-converted Poirier devotes. The album is as a showcase for Ghis and his wonderfully stripped-down primal beats. His skills behind the electronics are scene-stealers, as he proves in a meager forty-nine seconds on opening track “Hamado” (where he robs the attention from himself doing a voiceover). Really, the song leaves us literally begging to hear more of that opening beat after it tears it from our ears so quickly, but Ghis quickly ushers attention to the speaker-shattering beat of “Don’t Smile, It’s Post-Modern,” and manages to keep our interest without flashy synths or overbearing vocals to distract us from his fat and farty bass pounding. After serving us a beat that The Avalanches would be proud of with “Synthetic Rhythms,” Ghis displays his finest hour on Breakupdown with “Close The News” and its immediately catchy synth glitches.
The album does snag in a few places—namely in nearly all the tracks that include a rapper or vocalist of some sort. “Cold As Hell,” features Beans whose rhymes are never interesting enough on their own to match Ghis’ superior rhythmic backing. The song actually borders on unlistenable (and slightly embarrassing for our “featuring” artist). It disrupts what would have been a great flow from opener “Hamado” through to “Refuse to Lose.” “Riviere de dimants” is also a blemish, with the accompanying rap sounding like…well, let’s just say there is a reason why Francophone white boys shouldn’t rhyme on their own record. The best example of vocal accompaniment to Poirier’s beats comes with “Mic Diplomat,” where DJ Collage waxes poetically reggae over Ghis’ chopped dancehall beat.
This is an album that should not disappoint the Poirier faithful, but it falters as a cohesive album. The glimmers of brilliance that it does offer, however, solidify Ghislain’s name and reputation as an exciting young talent. His lengthy list of remixing credits should tell you that already, but Breakupdown shows that he does not fail on his own either. If only we could cure him of the desire to feature other artists on his own albums.
Reviewed by: Matt Sheardown
Reviewed on: 2006-03-07