A featured album, written by Matt Doyle.
Since their last original release Human After All 8 years ago, mainstream electronic dance music has gone down a darkened path. The dubstep generation, the Apple spacebar jockeys, the dissolution of boundaries and standards between pop and dance are all symptoms of the EDM dystopia that we are subjected to daily. After years of watching us folly however, our android overlords of groove will return in a blaze of white-hot glory, while the Guettas and Skrillexes of the world will rightfully look on in awe. Join in as we wait for the Random Access Memories album download, and get updated about a possible advance leak.
Who could possibly blame the French duo, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, if they were to call it quits. After leading the revolutionary rise of French house in the 90s, pervading the worldwide psyche and changing dance music forever with hit after hit after hit, Daft Punk have no obligations to continue working and nothing to prove. Bangalter developing tinnitus, partial deafness, in 2004 would have been an apt yet sad ending to an award-laden career spanning three decades, but thankfully, the robots could not be stopped by pesky “doctor’s orders”.
"Like the legend of the phoenix…"
And so, ‘Random Access Memories’ from Columbia Records is set to release on the 21st of May. The world waits with arrested breath, not just on the return of Daft Punk, but to witness the amalgamation of great producers and artists who have fallen by the wayside in recent years. TheCreatorsProject on YouTube have released a fascinating series entitled ‘The Collaborators’, interviewing the people that Daft Punk surrounded themselves with for their return. Each video gives a new insight into Punk’s creative process, the mindset behind this record and what we can expect once RAM drops. The excitement in each collaborator is so palpable and genuine, that it is hard not to be carried away along with them.
Todd Edwards, journeyman UK garage producer and remixer, speaks about the androids’ experimentation with live instrumentation on this record. Drum machines and electronic samples have been discarded. Multiple takes through different filters of live bass and guitar are overlapped. Vocals are recorded, shredded up into micro-samples, restrung together and morphed into the leading chorus line. Edwards seems like a guy who has seen it all, yet is still enthralled by Daft Punk’s innovations.
R&B and dance stalwart Nile Rodgers marvels at Daft Punk’s ability to draw the best out of their collaborators. Rodgers is unabashed to point out his success, but he still feels inspired to strive to be better when around this creative talent and enthusiasm. ‘They make you up your game, even though your game is pretty good…!’. To put this larger-than-life producer and legend in the industry into such a formative and complimentary mood once again speaks volumes.
"They went back to go forward"
It’s occasionally forgotten that the eternally youthful Pharrell Williams (he’s 40 ladies) was once one half of the Neptunes, the producing team behind literally almost half the US radio hits of the early noughties. Pharrell’s vocal talents can be heard on Get Lucky the juggernaut first single from RAM, but the clear reason for Williams’ collaboration with Daft Punk is his past as an intuitive, incessant hit maker on the forefront of original pop production. What can I say about Get Lucky that hasn’t been said already a million times. It has already become the most streamed song in history, and been remixed to near death by anyone who gets their hands on it. The hype this single received since its humble SNL ad break spot could have resulted in the killing of the track. But instead the simple quality of the song prevails, all its collaborators just doing what they do best, heralding the comeback of groove, soul and funk. As Rodgers states, ‘They went back to go forward’.
Unfortunately, Daft Punk have no plans to take their universally lauded live show on the road just yet. Bangalter told Rolling Stone, ‘We want to focus everything on the act and excitement of listening to the album. We don’t see a tour as an accessory to an album’. In another bucking of the trend for the androids, RAM will receive its worldwide launch when it is played live in small farming community Wee Waa (yep… Wee Waa) in New South Wales, Australia. The first live listening of the album will occur at the 79th Annual Wee Waa Show, alongside the dog high jump event and the baby show, under the picturesque Narrabri Observatory.
Ultimately, whatever people say, this album did not need to happen. The scale that Daft Punk have gone too, according to their starry eyed collaborators themselves was not necessary. But the robots are gracious, and they’ve chosen to stay here on your planet for one more turn at least, rather than jetting off to the futuristic world they came from, to bless us once again.
UPDATE – ALBUM REVIEW
Our own Matt Doyle has written an extensive review of Daft Punk’s album.
Daft Punk : Random Access Memories,