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Bertrand Burgalat

Say someone drops the name Bertrand Burgalat and it's the first time you've ever heard of the guy. What kind of music might you expect someone with a name like that to create? Would it be lush and cinematic? Would it be sensual and exotic? Would it be decadent and cultured? Would it be cosmopolitan? Would it be glamorous? Would it be ever so clever? Would it be as smooth as the finest silk?

Damn right, it would! It would be all of those things! How could it be anything else? The guy's name is Bertrand Burgalat, for God's sake! And for those of you who don't know the first thing about this talented gent, here are the facts. Burgalat was born on the beautiful French island of Corsica in the early '60s, where he was raised by parents whose enthusiasm for classical music formed the basis of his own musical explorations. In the late '70s, he fled for Paris, and later, London, and began to develop his own complex, euphoric pop vision. By the late '80s, he had established himself as one of the premier producers in all of Europe, with a sparkling, endlessly layered style that reminded some of Phil Spector. The Burgalat legend continued to grow over the next decade, thanks in part to high-profile work with Air, Depeche Mode, Soul II Soul, and Pizzicato Five, as well as film and TV work. In 2000, the German label Bungalow Records issued The Genius of Bertrand Burgalat, celebrating his talents with a collection of Burgalat-produced tunes from artists like Air, Ladytron, Renegade Soundwave, April March, and Nick Cave.

But the real treasure for fans of Burgalat's production talents surfaced the following year in the form of his first-ever collection of original tunes, the sweeping and sensual, hour-long The SSSound of MMMusic. Much of it is instrumental, some of it features Burgalat's own sophisticated, intimate crooning, a few songs feature guest singers. It's elegant, luscious fare that appears to be the culmination of Burgalat's three-decade musical education. You'll hear a definite '60s French pop influence in the album's playfully velvety textures, which has elicited the inevitable Serge Gainsbourg comparisons. There's also a bit of the spy movie score here and a touch of '50s and '60s lounge music. With lots of vintage organ tones, some chilly film noir string sections, and a few club beats, Burgalat makes music for the new jet set.