Philippe Zdar, Influential French Music Producer, Dies at 50


Philippe Zdar, a French music producer who worked with artists including Kanye West and the rock band Phoenix, has died after accidentally falling through the window of a building in Paris.

His death on Wednesday night was confirmed in an email by Anthony Ferrat, his booking agent.

Mr. Zdar, 50, who was born Philippe Cerboneschi, was one half of Cassius, an electro act he formed in the mid-1990s with Hubert Blanc-Francard. They had previously produced tracks together for the French rapper MC Solaar.

Cassius was a major player in “French Touch,” an electronic music movement that found global success in the 1990s and 2000s and included groups such as Daft Punk. Cassius did not have the hits of other groups in the scene, but the duo’s debut album, “1999,” released that year, was seen as a touchstone of the genre.

The band’s first album in three years, Dreems, is due to be released on Friday.

Mr. Zdar was still in demand as a D.J. and remixer — he was to play SummerStage in Central Park in New York on Sunday — but in recent years he had become as known for producing other people’s music as for making his own.

Mr. Zdar’s work on the “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” album by Phoenix won a Grammy for best alternative music album in 2010. After that success, Motorbass, a recording studio he owned in Paris, became a destination for musicians such as Pharrell Williams and Kanye West.

In a 2015 interview with The New York Times about the studio, Mr. Zdar said he allowed artists to record there only if he liked their music. “I don’t want to have bad music here,” he said. “I have the feeling that it might enter the walls. I believe in vibes.”

Mr. Zdar was committed to using real instruments rather than computers at the studio. “It changes everything,” he said. “I can hear the difference.”

Tributes to Mr. Zdar quickly began appearing on social media after his death. “Awful news about Phillipe Zdar, what an unbelievably lovely man with an incredible legacy,” the D.J. and producer Calvin Harris wrote.

“RIP Philippe Zdar, a visionary and tectonic force who shaped the geography of modern dance music,” the Black Madonna, another D.J., posted. “I am so sorry to the many friends who mourn his sudden and terrible loss.”

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