The unique style and sound of Pierre Bourne is taking 2018 by storm, and it’s here to stay
Words by Brinsley Chidavaenzi
2018 has been a year of collapses, rethinking and confusion. One person who sounds none of these things is Pierre Bourne. A one-man band reshifting frequencies to attract the attention of millions. We’ve seen the ascent of Hip-Hop producers happen in and out throughout the genre’s history. Dre, Dilla, Timbaland, Ye, Swizz, Metro, Boi1da, Hit-Boy; you name it. Hip-hop runs with polarities, minimalism to maximalism and vice versa. Right now, we’re leaning in minimalism; less is more with vocals and structure arrangements. Certain grooves get repeated across several songs and spread throughout music, this is how genres are formed. Funk runs with groove and empty space. Reggaeton runs with a dembow pattern from dancehall. Certain repetitions stick in the public consciousness. That’s how Pierre’s signature drum bounce can be seen, almost a genre of its own. The bounce can be imitated once you understand where the grooves between the bass and the claps are and the gaps are.
1/16 hats give the non-stop energy and constant movement, without them the empty spaces would have no momentum and move at a slug’s pace. Pierre’s sound is high acceleration with psychedelic lights. Melodically, Pierre’s beats don’t scan as Hip-Hop but rather stemming from video game music, ambient, dark ambient, new age and even avant grade at times. The preference towards analog synths give the production an unusual sound in an age of mostly digital and ultra clean synths (although recently there’s a consensus shift towards vintage sounds/sample and lo-fi textures). It’s that juxtaposition between such a primal and visceral bounce and carefully selected ear candy that makes Pierre’s compositions such a blast and highly memorable.
The beat is the star player and the vocals can serve as the icing. If you switched the drums from more ‘trap sounding’ drums to electronic drums, some of these melodies could easily be placed in Clams Casino or Oneohtrix Point Never’s world. His influence has extended to even Kanye on ‘Yikes’ and his production on the first half of ‘Santeria’ taking the recognised bounces in a Kirby like fashion. I’m definitely interested in this bounce, to see it go further into the mainstream pop world. It’s undoubtedly a product of big car speakers and cookouts; so the re-purposing in a Billboard Hot 100 with a pop star would be alluring to hear.