The world of electronic music is a sadder place today with the news that French house producer Philippe Cerboneschi, otherwise known as Philippe Zdar, has died in an accidental fall from a building in Paris.
Zdar, who was in his early 50s, is best known for being one half of Cassius, which enjoyed international chart success in the late 90s with tracks like Foxxy, Feeling For You and Cassius 1999.
Cassius had incidentally just announced a comeback, with a new album, Dreems, set to be released later this month, preceded by new single, Don’t Let Me Be, featuring vocalist Owlie.
In the early 90s, however, Zdar, along with future Cassius compatriot Hubert Blanc-Francard, aka Boom Bass, were part of La Funk Mob, a more hip hop-influenced, downtempo duo, which along with Etienne De Crécy, Dimitri From Paris and then-newcomers Daft Punk, helped establish the movement known as ‘French Touch’.
Their debut single, Casse Les Frontières, Fou Les Têtes En L’Air (which translates as Break the Borders, Crazy Heads In The Air), was released on Mo’Wax, and featured input from from Carl Craig, Nightmares on Wax’s DJ E.A.S.E. and Richie Hawtin, who provided a remix of the duo’s Motor Bass Get Phunked Up.
Featuring a hefty bassline and some kick-ass breaks, it’s a track that arguably deserved greater airplay at the time, and marks a rare foray into breakbeat territory for Hawtin, at the time better known for his Plastikman work.
From a similar period, also worth checking out is Zdar’s work with Etienne De Crécy under the name Motorbass – the influence on Daft Punk’s later work is plain to see.
Play it loud, and raise a glass to one of the pioneers of France’s electronic music scene: RIP Philippe Zdar Cerboneschi.
[Picture taken from Cassius’ Facebook page]