Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Hidden under flashy and futuristic robot helmets lay two of the most popular minds behind modern dance music, perhaps most famed for their first major breakthrough video Around the World. Daft Punk have been honing their craft for 20 years, entertaining audiences with their brand of house, synthpop and vocoder-laden epic live shows, which are now etched in legend.
Such is their status in the industry that they have been nominated for the Grammys no fewer than eight times, winning the award twice in 2009. Many will remember the success of their collaboration with Kanye West on Stronger, which used a sample of their single Harder Better Faster Stronger. Now Daft Punk have returned with their fourth studio LP Random Access Memories.
First track Give Life to Music is a window into the make up of this new album. Daft Punk have gone full disco on this outing, with enough funk and groove to make your mother and father proud, dust off their bell-bottoms and remind you of their glory days. Chic’s lead guitarist Nile Rodgers makes a cameo here and also appears on catchy lead single Get Lucky, and Lose Yourself to Dance with Pharrell Williams.
Julian Casablancas makes a notable contribution on Instant Crush. Yet it’s Georgio by Moroder that exhibits the most epic and expansive moment, featuring an educating voiceover from pioneer disco musician and producer Giovanni Giorgio Moroder. However, despite impressive instrumentation, the album on a whole isn’t as innovative as one would have hoped.
As you’d expect, the production is top notch and no technical expense was spared in the creation of RAM. It was recorded in the best studios, with the best musicians, with an old school analogue sensibility. It’s a throwback to a time that clearly influenced Daft Punk in the beginning: the album almost plays out like a school field trip through music history featuring disco, pop and prog-rock of the 70s and 80s.
However, if you ignore the elements and expense that went into writing this production, the content itself is remarkably unoriginal. Yes, the compositions are expansive and the collaborations are quite explorative, but the French duo have opted for something akin to a rock opera and left their house music origins behind. It is indeed ambitious but can also be alienating to some fans. One can only suspect the inevitable remix album will have a bash at correcting this.
Random Access Memories was released on 20th May 2013.
Watch the video for Get Lucky here: