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IRM by Charlotte Gainsbourg

Album: IRMReleased: 2010
  • This is the title track from French electronic pop singer Charlotte Gainsbourg's third studio album. Charlotte is the daughter of British actress and singer Jane Birkin and French actor/singer Serge Gainsbourg.
  • The record is a collaboration with American musician Beck, who co-wrote all the song's apart from "Le Chat Du Café Des Artistes." He explained: "I pulled a bunch of songs out. And then I wrote a few, with her in mind, but when we spent time together they changed because I got more of a feeling of where she wanted to go. We got in the studio and I could see all the possibilities."
  • Gainsbourg presented Beck with her fragmentary lyrics, which he reformed. The French chanteuse told The Observer January 10, 2010 with self-deprecation: "Beck kept pushing me to write, but my father's genius weighs too heavy on me." She then explained exactly what her input was. "Well, he'd start with a rhythm and I'd react. Then, he'd gradually build a song. I came up with a few words and titles," she said, "but mainly I came to him with ideas and directions that I wanted to take. I brought some books: the poetry of Apollinaire, Through the Looking-Glass. Just clues for him, really. We didn't have profound ideas or discussions. He just guessed what I wanted to sing about."
  • On the album, Gainsbourg is backed by Beck's regular band, comprising drummers Joey Waronker and James Gadson, keyboardist Brian LeBarton, trumpeter David Ralicke and Beck's father, David Campbell, on string arrangements.
  • The album title was chosen to reflect Gainsbourg's experiences of 2007, when she had surgery following a brain hemorrhage and the hypnotic sounds of the MRI scanner remained with her - "IRM" is French for "MRI". She explained to Mojo October 2009: "I fell water skiing. A few months later I had constant headaches, and doctors found there was blood causing pressure on my brain. I could have died. I had many scans, and the sound of the MRI scanner stuck with me. When Beck and I talked about how I wanted the music to sound, I played him the scanner - I found it on the internet-and said I wanted to incorporate it. I'll never forget that sound."
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