June 2nd - July 16th, 2016
From September 24th until January 22nd 2022
Thursday, November 4th 2021
In 2019, for the Brussels-based label Crammed, Martin Meissonnier released an amazing album entitled Kinshasa 1978, featuring remixes, or rather reconstructions, of urban Zairean tracks. It had been some time since this spritely, multi-talented 64-year-old, who started playing in the 1970s, had seen his name on a record. It’s simply that Meissonnier’s modest approach means he is most famous behind the scenes. Not that he is a shark of the studios either, although he spends a mad amount of time in them. Above all, he’s an artist working in the medium of sound. His collaborations and coproductions demonstrate his incomparable flair and insatiable curiosity. At the mixing desk, backstage or on stage, he has accompanied such immense figures as Don Cherry, Fela Kuti, King Sunny Adé, Amina and Cheb Khaled. A European ambassador of African music—from Raï to Afrobeat—he is also one of the first Frenchmen to take a close interest in machines, in electronic music, and new technology more generally. Then he immersed himself in what’s known as “image music,” composing the soundtrack for the opening ceremony of the Albertville Winter Olympics and the theme music to hit TV show Les Guignols de l’Info.
Alongside his musical career, Martin Meissonnier has also reported and made documentaries for ground-breaking new media, such as newspaper Libération in the 1970s, Radio Nova in the 1980s, and ARTE, with his cult Megamix program in the 1990s and 2000s. Nowadays, he DJ’s under the moniker Dox Martin, and makes music under his own name, while continuing to offer on-point backup to young talents from different horizons. From post-1968 squats to London studios, via Paris-Afro, Eurovision and the early days of internet, Martin Meissonnier’s career is a whole swathe of pop culture at its most open-minded and adventurous, and at its least introverted.
Étienne Menu is a music journalist, chief editor of the magazine Audimat and of the website Musique Journal.