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No Ground Under

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Album Review

Montreal beat-maker Ghislain Poirier has long been enticing club-goers worldwide to shake "le gros" with his squelching, bass-heavy dance tracks. Though he started his own label, Rebondir, in 2006 (which issued the fantastic Rebondir EP), he also signed to the respected avant electronica outfit Ninjatune not too long after. On No Ground Under, his first release with Ninjatune, he allows his influences to really show through, which means even more ragga and hip-hop than before. Unfortunately, this isn't always for the best. Omnikrom show up on one track, "Jusqu'en Haut," and though the MCs' voices are just as crazed and expressive as ever, Poirier lays down a soul sample-esque beat and a basic drum line that's, honestly, pretty boring, even by simpler rap standards. And while West Indian singers Face-T and Mr. Lee G are both able in their own rights, lyrically and thematically they get a little too repetitive. Poirier is most exciting when he's just writing his own beats, when he doesn't have to consider how his guests will fit over them (an exception to this is the excellent "Exils," featuring the violinist Abdelhak Rahal, which manages to sound supremely organic and industrial at the same time and is one of the best things on the album), and so tracks like the ominous "It's a War War War" and nearly indie electronic "Diaspora" stand out, the interplay between the bass and treble, the different distorted keyboards, coming through more clearly when not obfuscated by the vocals. That's not to say that there aren't some non-instrumentals that really bounce; "Ladies & Gentleman," featuring Ambitieux and DJ Netik, is fast and heavily percussive, while "Go Ballistic," with vocals from Panamanian MC Zulu, is provocative and very, very club-worthy. But in comparison to Poirier's other work, No Ground Under doesn't quite have the same consistently exuberant energy that makes it so fantastically unique and danceable.


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Montreal native and DJ Ghislain Poirier, who has collaborated with the likes of Beans and Lotek Hi-Fi, has a monthly show, Bounce le Gros, at a packed club in his hometown, and is also a visual artist whose work has been exhibited in galleries around Montreal, first entered the music scene with his 2001 record Il N'y a Pas de Sud. After that, he came out with nearly an album a year on various labels (three -- Beats as Politics, Breakupdown, and the Cold as Hell EP -- on Chocolate Industries) until...
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No Ground Under, Ghislain Poirier
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