Maxime Robin
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Maxime Robin

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | SELF

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | SELF
Band EDM Hip Hop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Music to my ears...and eyes"

September 6th 2007

Montreal electro / hip hop artist Maxime Robin considers the benefits, difficulties, and drawbacks of translating music into visual art
By Caroline Zimmerman
The McGill Daily
I find it daunting to write about music because I don’t know much about it. I’m hopeless with the genre lingo and I’m not good at assessing technical skill. When sizing up a musician, I stick to very personal and visceral criteria that border on naïve: I brood over the evocative power of the music. Does the music trigger a host of images in my mind? Does it make me want to write in response? Does it demand that I move my body to a certain beat?

Maxime Robin’s music makes me want to do all of these things at once, repeatedly. He produces a hip-hop/electro hybrid, though at heart he’s a self-declared hip-hop devotee. To help you find your footing: his sound has been likened to Prefuse73, with nods to DJ Shadow and Kid Koala. The Trois-Rivières native assembles intricate musical collages from his vast collection of old vinyl records fished out of dollar-bins over the years. Two of the songs on his MySpace page, “Spleen” and “Le Trou,” provoke layers of mental images that deepen with each replay.

It’s no coincidence that Robin’s cut’n’paste beats have a visual flair – the DJ is a video artist as well. He's a diehard member of the KINO film collective, composed of artist groups that gather in cities across the world to share their shorts. He’s made a crop of clips for his own tunes and collaborated with other artists on countless audio-visual projects.

Robin also integrates visual projections into his shows, but he's not the one in the driver's seat. He leaves the job up to Mathieu Morasse, a VJ he's been working with for years. “Mathieu bases the projection on the live performance, instead of on a bunch of archived images,” he recently told me. “He films me, then fits other images in according to what I'm doing.”

For Robin, the relationship between music and imagery can be problematic. “Including visuals at a show changes how the audience is going to receive the music,” he mused. “Adding images to instrumental music is like adding lyrics, because you’re showing exactly what you mean. When it’s just instrumental, the audience will take what they want from it. I take on a much heavier responsibility when I add images because I'm communicating a precise message.”

In the context of Robin’s oeuvre, I only partially agree. His idea that images impose a specific meaning, I think, only applies to those clips that trace a narrative trajectory. But when they are an impressionistic bricolage of found images – like cut-outs from old magazines – the sense of confinement dissipates. When the video mirrors Robin’s music and his creative process rather than illustrating it with a plotline, the audio-visual combination remains remarkably open-ended.

Still, he always starts with the music itself. “The music takes me a long time to make, and takes a lot of research. The video is more of a mad rush, and it's a way of taking a step back and analyzing my own work,” he noted.

But there’s a playful side to Robin that springs to life in his videos, a finely-tuned sense of irony that is hard to glean from his mixes alone. “I want be serious in my work, but I don’t want to take myself too seriously,” he said. “Especially in the electro scene, the music can seem cold and impersonal because it doesn't take itself with a grain of salt.”

Robin has a contentious relationship with genre in the first place. He recently jumpstarted a monthly event called “Hip Hop is DEAD,” “to create a window of opportunity for things that are hip hop, but a bit on the margins,” he explained. “I don’t like having to put any kind of label on my work, but I have to,” he added. “Before, that really bothered me, because you’re necessarily going to alienate certain people. But I’ve learned that it’s necessary in ‘real life,’ because people need to situate themselves.” Still, he struggles with the fact that his music is “too hip hop for those who don't like it, but not hip hop enough for those who do.”

For a DJ, Robin's relationship with technology struck me as rather unusual. He hates the stuff, even though he has a B.A. in graphic communication. “I don’t like computers, I don’t like machines. If I could do what I do with ribbons and strings, I’d do it. With video, it’s so easy to slip into the obsession with the latest programs, but my favorite artists, the ones I really admire, they all use the old, crappy stuff. Those who are using the ‘latest thing’ aren’t usually the most innovative.”

Shiny turntables or no, Robin is one of the hidden gems at this year’s Osheaga festival. He’ll be playing lots of instrumental arrangements, including some from his most recent album, Maxime Robin Is a Towntempo Kind of Guy. He'll also be spinning live remixes of obscure hip hop artists, and he's bringing his VJ along for the ride. If you miss him this tim - McGill Daily

"Tout cool (in french)"

Maxime Robin ne réinvente pas la roue, mais c'est avec un plaisir constant qu'on écoute celle-ci grincer sous les grooves souriants du bonhomme - avec un titre d'album pareil, on s'attend à ce que le voyage soit paisible. Originaire de Trois-Rivières, membre du collectif de vidéastes Kino, Robin a, dit-on, mis quelques années avant d'oser mettre en marché un album constitué de ces breakbeats fertilisés aux vieux vinyles. Ce faisant, le compositeur s'inspire des DJ Shadow (de la première heure), Prefuse73, Kid Loco pour offrir une collection de petites vignettes marquées de cordes. de cuivres, dénichées sur les vieux enregistrements. Plus doux que brut, Maxime Robin is a Town Tempo Kind of Guy reproduit à la perfection une formule maintes fois éprouvée (mais dont on ne s'est visiblement pas encore lassé) en y injectant par-ci par-là plusieurs bons flashs. Le genre d'album qu'on entend sans gêne sans avoir besoin de l'écouter avec attention. - La presse, samedi 31 mars 2007

"Mirror (thursday 1st march 2007)"

Is a Town Tempo Kind of Guy

The fact that the debut disc from Trois-Rivieres's axime Robin comes off like an audio emulation of a groovy weekend walk-about through the city - a decidedly odd and entertaining city to boot - jives perfectly with the roots of this cut'n'paste carnival. The material here is cobbled together, with wit and wile, from countless dollar-bin discs and rumage-sale records, be they kiddie stuff, cornball comedy, loopy lounge jazz or classical kitsch. The density would be dizzying if to unfurl at a light and leisurely pace. 8/10 (Rupert Bottenberg) - Mirror (thursday 1st march 2007)

"Hour (thursday 1st march 2007)"

3 little headphones

Maxime Robin
Maxime Robin is a town tempo kind of guy
(Maxime Robin/Local)

With a French press release, English song names and stupid album title, I had no idea what to expect from this. Turns out it's a good album of trip-hopped beats and turntable-izing, all set, I guess, to a cosmopolitan town tempo. Think Dimitri From Paris for actually helpful context. Or check out the included (and very well done) animated video for Carlos to get the intended vibe. The album's are Le Royal break, riding high on some medieval horns, the short screwed-and-chopped Le Agace break, and the album's first song that, like the album title, has a name so unfortunate I'd rather not repeat it. (Brendan Murphy)

Maxime Robin CD launch with Ghislain Poirier at Zoobizarre, March 1 - Hour (thursday 1st march 2007)


Year / artist / title / label / award

2011 / Pax Kingz / Medieval Bass / ErobotE
2011 / MC Phylis et Maxime Robin / Prestige de Pauvre ErobotE
2010 / Maxime Robin / Mondrian Owns Geometry / Fresh Poulp records / nomination à l’ADISQ et aux prix GAMIQ
2009 / Pax Kingz / Pax Kingz / ErobotE
2007 / Maxime Robin / is a towntempo kind of guy ErobotE/Local / nomination à l’ADISQ
2005 / DNT (Maxime Robin) / Beatwalker / Chat Blanc records
2004 / DNT (Maxime Robin) / Le Nouveau Jaune / Déluge



Maxime Robin cuts little sound pieces of records found in the “1$ bin” and paste those in a way that most find the resulting music to be a special blend of electro hiphop not unlike music by Jay Dee, Prefuse73 or Ghislain Poirier. He is also part of dubstep affair Pax Kingz with Millimetrik and 1/2 of french hiphop duo MC Phylis et Maxime Robin. Maxime is also a videast; his understanding of audio and video equipment lead him to do some VJ gigs (live video performance) and some soundtrack work on various projects. For some years now he been active in the college radio scene with shows on CHYZ (in Quebec City) and CFOU (in Trois-Rivières).