As I type, I’m listening to & obsessing over Charlotte Gainsbourg’s new album IRM (the acronym in French for MRI), which was released yesterday here in the U.S. [The album was released in Gainsbourg’s native France several months ago.]
The album has an entirely unique sound, heavily influenced by the sound of hospitals and medical machinery, hence the album’s title. Following a skiing accident, Gainsbourg suffered severe brain damage that nearly killed her, and she underwent a series of surgeries from 2007 on. In a recent interview in the New York Times, she mentioned that she was fascinated by the sounds of the MRI. After spending so much time in hospitals, she began to find the sounds both strangely comforting and eery. You hear both qualities on the album.
IRM was produced by Beck, and the two share a duet in “Heaven Can Wait.” Beck’s presence is almost too easy to spot; you hear him in the keyboards & the echos, from track one to the album’s close. His production complements Gainsbourg’s whispery, ingenue-ish voice well. And there are some dancy-worthy tracks too. It wouldn’t be Beck without ’em.
The album is a beautiful collaboration between Beck & Charlotte. The comparisons to her father Serge will abound, but this album is so good that maybe it’ll convince the naysayers to consider the lady on her own terms. All right, I’m off to listen to this & whip up some tomato sauce for homemade pizza tonight. xo, m