Trip hop doesn’t seem like as much of a household name in the indie music sphere as it once was in the 90s and early 00s. Despite the face that Tricky, Thievery Corporation and Morcheeba still tour quite regularly and are putting out new product, new acts in this genre which crosses the genres of indie, funk, jazz, hip hop and EDM seem to be few and far between. Even when there are new acts introduced to slow, syncopated bass music, it’s couched in different terms such as trap, halftime drum and bass or even chill dubstep. This is not the case with Swiss producer Yvan Poisson.
Poisson’s new LP Blind Experiment is exactly and unapologetically trip hop. It would even appear, based on the style and form of most of the tracks on this album that the artist intentionally stripped down the genre to its basic elements, intending to let them speak for themselves. Rest assured, they do. Poisson calls his style “minimalist trip hop,” but really it’s just trip hop. Every genre in electronic music comes down to beat structure, after all, and in this respect it truly doesn’t get more trip hop than Blind Experiment with it’s snare-heavy beat and slow jazz-or-funk-or-hip hop syncopation, and little else.
On album opener “Latent Period” for example, there’s not much more than a very sparse trumpet which moves with the beat as well as an intermittent synth and a flute flourish at the end of each phrase. “Negative Control Procedure” has even less musical elements, with jangling synths filling in the empty space and a seemingly random saxophone squawk piercing the chill, funky synth. “New Ideas” seems to be a bit more melodic, but it has a different style of syncopation as does album closer “Until Next Time.”
Blind Experiment is a great study in why certain styles of music are what they are. It’s easy to get caught up in lyrics and melodies and even bass, but at the end of the day almost every style of music comes down to what the drums and the beat are doing, especially when it comes to jazz, blues, funk and bass music. With this LP, and the way he’s constructed it, Poisson is not only bringing back the genre, he is reminding audiences of the definition of it. This is trip hop.
Blind Experiment released on December 21 and is available to stream or purchase on Yvan Poisson’s Bandcamp page. It can also be streamed on Soundcloud. Also be sure to check out his newest collection of jazzy trip hop tracks just released on New Year’s Eve called Recycled Jazz on his Soundcloud page.