Helmets, Rumours, Synths and Electroma

18 Jun

So there I was the other day listening to my iPod while on the way to work and decided that it was time to listen to Daft Punk again: it’s been a long while since I fully listened to one of their albums, in particular their 2001 album “Discovery”. I love “Discovery” so much. When I first heard the album, it was a revelation to me. It single-handedly kick-started my love of electronic music and propelled Daft Punk, in my eyes at least, into the realms of greatness.

If we had real robots today, their it-bots would be these guys. They made a third album, “Human After All”, in 2005 and it exposed the best and the worst thing about the band: repetition. Every song looped around on itself for five or so minutes, the band occasionally adding more synthetic sounds to make them sound more like a conventional song. But while it was distinctly Daft Punk, it wasn’t as good as “Discovery” – it didn’t have the flair, the tonal changes and the almost futuristic feel that “Discovery” did (although “Robot Rock” and “Technologic” are good tracks).

But then what happened? They toured a couple of years later and released “Alive 2007”, a live album that had a couple of mash-ups (as was the style at the time) but produced no new material. Since then nothing, not a single peep. Actually, I lie. Their arthouse film “Electroma” was released, following the pair on a journey through the future: if you played “Human After All” at the same time, the music fit the movie. And now they’re soundtracking the new film “Tron: Legacy” with a cameo role tacked on – nobody knows if they will be in their recognisable robot form or as the real guys, so keep an eye out. A couple of years ago it was also rumoured that the pair were in fact masquerading as Justice:

The parallels are marked: they both come from the same part of the world, they’re both duos, the sound is incredibly similar (although Justice could be described as a little “funkier”) and they appeared right at the same time as Daft Punk disappeared. Plus, like Daft Punk, Justice released a live companion record, “A Cross The Universe”. Justice continue to deny that they are Daft Punk in disguise (er, well, they’re not wearing robot suits. You know what I mean!) even though the conspiracies continue.

But how come Daft Punk are so horribly overlooked? If you listen to the waves of electronic artists that have been spawned in the past few years, they all in some way owe some debt to Daft Punk, even if it’s marginal. Come on: LCD Soundsystem wrote a song about them, “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House”, whereby James Murphy eloquently points out that he’s waited seven years and sixteen days (i.e. since the release of their debut album “Homework”) for it to happen. La Roux’s “Bulletproof” is close to completely emulating the mad sounds heard on “Robot Rock” (although it is in a different key):

Oh, Dafties! Hopefully “Tron” will mean that you’re going to return soon, or maybe your songs from the soundtrack will be released in a new album. Here’s hoping you’ll return soon. In the mean time I’ll sit and wait patiently by listening to my favourite song of yours. This is “Aerodynamic”, the closest they ever got to a rock song:

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