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4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (25 Jan. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Because Music
  • ASIN: B002QXI2WW
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 100,946 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Master's Hands
  2. IRM
  3. Le Chat Du Cafe Des Artistes
  4. In the End
  5. Heaven Can Wait
  6. Me and Jane Doe
  7. Vanities
  8. Time of the Assassins
  9. Trick Pony
  10. Greenwich Mean Time
  11. Dandelion
  12. Voyage
  13. La Collectionneuse

Product Description

BBC Review

Between this, her third album, and 2006’s 5:55, Charlotte Gainsbourg – actress, singer and French icon – suffered a cerebral haemorrhage. IRM (the French for MRI) is exactly the sort of record an artist who has endured a life-threatening condition should make: deeply reflective yet questioningly optimistic.

IRM was recorded with Beck and written largely by him from lyrical scraps passed on by Gainsbourg. The works of Apollinaire, and Through the Looking Glass, were used as their guides, as the duo created something informed by both their pasts, yet not obsessively wedded to it.

It is full of invention. The title track takes a sample of an MRI machine and uses it as an instrument, akin to a guitar solo. The moving Vanities has a dramatic string arrangement by Beck’s father, David Campbell, which adds to the track’s unrelenting intensity. Dandelion, a most basic glam-blues number, sounds like something from the first T. Rex album. It is probably the point where it all works best. Beck's work as a pasticheur is made real by Gainsbourg's gentle sincerity.

Beck successfully avoids creating a Serge Gainsbourg tribute record. It’s only on Le Chat du Café des Artists – with its breathy, whispered vocals over its dark, densely orchestrated backdrop – that he can’t resist stylistically referencing Charlotte’s father’s Histoire de Melody Nelson album, one of Beck’s favourite works. That said, producer Nigel Godrich did the same on 5:55. The temptation simply must be too great.

Although conceived as a sister album to 5:55, this is much more than a mere sequel – at times it is so minimal and skeletal, the songs are in need of intensive care.  Yet it is unafraid to rock (Trick Pony, Dandelion) or be resolutely commercial – the duet with Beck and lead single, Heaven Can Wait, and Time of the Assassins are surprisingly perky pop tracks that reveal gorgeous melodies.

The result is as unsettling as it is uplifting. Although her last album sold half a million worldwide, Charlotte Gainsbourg remains very much a delicacy in the UK. The deeply moving and organic IRM deserves a wider audience, as it is one of 2010’s first great examples of accomplished, adult pop. --Daryl Easlea

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Anyone with a passing familiarity with Charlotte Gainsbourg's work in the medium of both music and film will know that the woman brings a lot of her fathers' eccentricity to the table. It doesn't take a physicist to figure out that her work in Lars Von Trier's "Antichrist" was one of the most painful (literally) experiences ever captured on film, yet she went on to render it in an almost blank-faced fashion, dead-panning throughout the movie until its' visceral climactic conclusion.

On "5:55", which I rated rather highly a few years ago, Charlotte worked with a production team that understood that the only way to make her light, spoken-word singing voice work, was to complement it with strings, violins, and quiet piano interludes. Add to this a medium dose of musical experimentation, and an epic was born. "5:55" found and captured something that no other album has been able to since, and it is truly a unique work in more ways than one. From the jangly musical perfection that is "Everything I Cannot See" to the ponderous morbidity of "The Operation", its something best appreciated by lovers of the independent French music scene, of which thankfully I am a subscriber.

Post "Antichrist" and her much publicized accident, Gainsbourg returns with an album that could possibly even perplex Serge. The immediate sense of coherency that heralded "5:55" is missing here, with lead (and standout) track "IRM" setting the tone for a curious oddity, an album where the stakes are higher, the experimentation more visible, and the voice showing absolutely no signs of evolution at all. While Gainsbourg is certainly alluding to her time spent with the magnetic equipment that discerned her injuries at the time, the song itself is an ode to the clunky bit of equipment an MRI machine really is.
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By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Jan. 2010
Format: Audio CD
IRM = MRI = Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Following a serious water-skiing accident in 2007
Ms Gainbourg sustained a life-threatening brain injury.
The experience of that trauma, the surgery and subsequent
MRI monitoring form the inspiration and backdrop to this
uniquely personal collaboration with American songwriter/
producer Beck. That she faced the experience head-on
(so-to-speak) and delivered this fine album is to be applauded.

The reflections of that difficult time are handled in lyrics
which are subtle, unaffected, ambiguous and deeply personal.

The thirteen songs in this collection display a wide range
of emotions and atmospheres. From fear and fragmentation :
'Master's Hands' and 'IRM'; through stubborn hope :
'In The End' - a stompingly good song!; self re-evaluation :
the profoundly beautiful 'Burning Vanities'; dark nightmares :
the disturbingly surreal 'Trick Pony' and 'Greenwich Mean Time';
the optimistic four-square blues of 'Dandelion' and on the final
track 'La Collectionneuse' transformation and redemption.

Ms Gainsbourg's voice has never been a great instrument but
what she has she uses well. Her breathy tones complement the
dream-like quality of much of the subject matter perfectly.

Beck's compositional and production skill puts flesh on the bones
of these elusive and ephemeral psycho/physical experiences with
intelligently complex musicality. Sometimes stripped down to almost
nothing; sometimes richly-layered and wonderfully exotic.

For my money the string and percussion arrangement of 'Voyage'
forms the fast beating heart of this quietly visionary project.
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Format: Audio CD
As we review the 2009-2010 years, we can all say that Charlotte Gainsbourg got quite a professional success, and for two reasons. The first one is with the excellent role she gave in Lars Von Trier's Antichrist, which has made her name more known in the film industry and made her an actress to be respected. And finally for this excellent album, co-produced with Beck. In it she manages to speak about the operation she had to do three years ago and put a lot of the emotions that she felt in Lars Von Trier's Antichrist. A great idea from Beck to include a new version of "Le chat du Café des Artistes", originally written by the french-canadian singer Jean-Pierre Ferland. It adds an eerie and mysterious touch to this album.

A great work from an excellent singer and a great way for me to discover Beck, which I didn't knew before.
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Format: Audio CD
In 1971, aged 42, Serge Gainsbourg entered a London recording studio armed with a 50-peice orchestra and the beautiful Jane Birkin on his arm, he later emerged with his pop masterpeice 'L'Histoire de Melody Nelson'. The album is a true monument of French art and has many admirer's including Pulp's Jarvis Cocker, Sterolab and Beck. It is Beck who is of most interest here, for in 2009 Charlotte Gainsbourg entered an American studio armed with more than 30 musicians and the multi-talented Beck Hansen on her arm. And here we are in 2010, Ms Gaingbourg has emerged with another pop masterpeice.

It would be wholly unfair to sit here and compare this record with her father's legacy (even though I just have) but it is almost impossible not to draw some comparisons. For a start it is interesting from the social aspect that it is now the male artist (Beck) supporting the female protaganist, but then one is drawn towards the question of just who is playing the part of the Jane Birkin style muse when Beck is writing all but one of the songs featured on this set, is he Gainsbourg's male muse or indeed is she playing the supportive role towards his most creative and playful release since 1996's 'Odelay'?. Either way it does'nt matter, because between them they have released a mighty fine record and certainly a career high for Gainsbourg.

The album opens with the dreamy 'Masters Hands'. It's African-style percussion, bass and sparse acoustic guitars are the foundations to which Gainsbourg unleashes her whimsical vocal style. The moment two minutes in where the strings make their first appearence is both beautiful and prothetic for the entire record. Track 2 is the M.I.
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