Bloodshy & Avant

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The Swedish production and songwriting duo Bloodshy and Avant are responsible for several of the most innovative mainstream pop recordings of the 2000s, including tracks with Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Christina…
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The Swedish production and songwriting duo Bloodshy and Avant are responsible for several of the most innovative mainstream pop recordings of the 2000s, including tracks with Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Christina Milian and, most notably, Britney Spears. Christian Lars Karlsson (a.k.a. Bloodshy), whose previous credits included production work for Vitamin C, 98º and Ultra Naté, first teamed with Pontus Winnberg (Avant) in 2001 to co-write and produce the single "I'm Right Here" for Samantha Mumba, the Irish singer who was once hailed as "the black Britney Spears." (The song was a top 5 U.K. hit, but its would-be parent album, Mumba's second, never materialized, although the track would later appear on her compilation The Collection in 2006.) The duo contributed five songs to the debut album by the American R&B singer Christina Milian, resulting in two sizable worldwide hits: "When You Look At Me" and the fresh, synth-tinged "AM to PM." Following work for British stars Sugababes and Ms. Dynamite (including a top ten single, "It Takes More," for the latter), Bloodshy and Avant had a major coup when they were tapped to contribute to Britney Spears' 2003 album In The Zone. Specifically, they scored with the stunningly original "Toxic, which rode its insistent, otherworldly string hook to the tops of charts worldwide (despite only reaching #9 in the U.S.) when it was released as the album's second single as 2004. "Toxic", which Karlsson and Winnberg co-wrote with their frequent confederate &Henrik Jonback and the veteran songwriter Cathy Dennis, was widely regarded by critics and fans as one of the best songs of the year, and eventually earned an Ivor Novello award (for songwriting and composition) and a Grammy for Best Dance Recording. (Their collaboration with Dennis also yielded the funky, guitar-driven "Sweet Dreams My L.A. Ex,"which was rejected for the Spears album but became a #2 U.K. hit for Rachel Stevens.) The song "Chaotic," originally submitted for In The Zone, was used instead as the theme music for the reality series Britney and Kevin: Chaotic; Spears also tapped the duo for production duties on three tracks for 2004's Greatest Hits: My Prerogative, including the U.K. top-ten "Do Somethin'" and the hit titular Bobby Brown cover. The following year's lower-profile projects included album tracks for Madonna's Confessions on the Dancefloor and Brooke Valentine's overlooked Chain Letter, while 2006 was an even quieter year, with their only notable output being a track for the international edition of Kelis' Kelis Was Here. In 2007, however, Bloodshy and Avant were back in a major way, taking their highly electronic pop production style to bold new extremes that involved cutting up, tweaking and refracting the vocals on their tracks, in some cases practically to the point of obscuring the "lead" singer, or at least to wrest the listener's attention in multiple directions at once. The prime examples of this approach can be found, not surprisingly, on their four contributions to Britney Spears' triumphant comeback album Blackout, particularly the single "Piece of Me"; they also produced two similarly-styled tracks to Kylie Minogue's much-anticipated tenth album X ("Speakerphone" and "Nu-di-ty.") Among their songs which were initially intended for Blackout, several ended up appearing instead on the debut by American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, and one as the title track to Jennifer Lopez's Brave. Other projects the duo were involved in around this time included helping to pen a pastiche of contemporary pop for the film Music and Lyrics, working with R&B artists Kevin Michael and Sean Garrett, and producing for a cartoon hip-hop project with Hungarian animator Andras Erkel, the first track from which, "My Slang" by Spiss, appeared in early 2008. That same year, Karlsson and Winnberg were awarded the Swedish Music Export Award by their government.