Philippe Zdar death: Hot Chip and Mark Ronson lead tributes to Cassius producer and DJ

Influential French musician collaborated with a number of prolific artists including Hot Chip, MC Solaar and Phoenix

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Thursday 20 June 2019 08:10
Philippe Zdar (right) of French duo Cassius, has died after falling from a building in Paris
Philippe Zdar (right) of French duo Cassius, has died after falling from a building in Paris

Philippe Zdar, influential producer and one half of French house duo Cassius, has died after a fall at a building in Paris.

The news was confirmed to Pitchfork via a statement from his agent, who said the 50-year-old accidentally fell from “a high floor of an old building in Paris”.

Cassius was formed from Zdar – born Philippe Cerboneschi – and Hubert Blanc-Francard. Beginning under the name La Funk Mob, their debut album as Cassius was 1999 (released that year).

2016’s Ibifornia featured collaborations with Pharrell, Cat Power, Beastie Boys’ Mike D and more. Their new album Dreems was scheduled for release this Friday (21 June).

Originally called La Funk Mob, they began recording and producing in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Their debut Cassius album was released in 1999. Their 2016 album Ibifornia featured Pharrell, Beastie Boys’ Mike D, Cat Power, and others. Their new album Dreems was set for release this Friday (21 June).

As a producer and mixer, Zdar worked with a number of prolific artists including French hip hop star MC Solaar and the band Phoenix – for which he earned a Grammy with their record Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.

“Some people want to go to the top of K2, but have a helicopter come and take them to the top, voilà! Me, I will be the alpinist,” he told Fader of his approach to production in an interview last year. “I will never be happy listening to the album finished without me having done all these things before, you know? It’s craftsmanship.”

Hot Chip, whose album A Bath Full of Ecstasy was produced by Zdar, is also scheduled for release this Friday (21 June).

The band paid tribute to the late producer on social media, writing: “Hearing of the death of Philippe Zdar has left us stunned and immensely sad. He was a kind, open and endlessly enthusiastic man who brought happiness to everyone around him.

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“We are deeply sorry for his family and friends. Au revoir Phillippe, et merci.”

“So f***ng sad to learn about Philippe Zdar last night,” Mark Ronson wrote. ”A true, true legend whose influence hangs over not just dance but indie, hip hop, all of it. I remember buying Feeling For You when it first came out and being blown away... My condolences to his family and friends.”

Alex Kapranos, with whom Zdar worked on Franz Ferdinand’s 2018 album Always Ascending, said: “Philippe Zdar was a great inspiration, both as a producer, but particularly as a good man and friend.

“His taste was impeccable and is heard on everything he worked on. He had a huge joy for life, generosity and passion. I will miss him terribly.”

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