Daft Punk – “Random Access Memories”
After eight years between albums Daft Punk is finally back with Random Access Memories. The robots watched the whole electronic dance music genre explode after they and artists like Tiesto paved the way. EDM artists like Skrillex and Deadmau5 owe their popularity in large part to the french house duo. Daft Punk’s lore and iconic status has been cemented with a Kanye West sample and the public curiosity.
The curiosity goes beyond just whose behind the masks and into what have they be doing these past couple years while their genre has taken off around them. What would the robots do? Instead of buying into and trying re-interpret dub-step or hopping on the trap music wave they stayed true to their roots.
Daft Punk stayed true to their french house roots and instead of progressing the genre forward and trying to sound futuristic they borrowed from the funk and disco of late 70s and early 80s. They blended french house, disco, and funk to make the best album of 1979.
The robots ran away from the over processed computer sounding samples and made an album built on nostalgia, while still being EDM in nature. They first previewed this sound on the album’s first single, “Get Lucky”.
“Get Lucky” features vocals from hip-hop artist and producer Pharrell and is driven by the funk infused instrumentals of R&B guitarist Nile Rodgers. The song is impossible not to groove to and is the best song released so far this year. It splices in some of the robo vocals Daft Punk listeners are accustomed to. They act as a bridge for the song while blending into the bigger picture.
The team of Pharrell, Nile Rodgers and Daft Punk also entrance listeners on the track “Lose Yourself to Dance”. The song is a hypnotizing force beckoning people to bust a move. It forces you to let go and literally lose yourself to dance. The album is not all upbeat propaganda for the dance floor. Some tracks like “Instant Crush” are more low-key.
“Instant Crush” relies heavy on The Strokes’ lead singer Julian Casablancas’ vocals. His vocals are sung through an older vocoder. They have a thick saturation to them as he croons on this love song.
Daft Punk do rely on guests like Casablancas but songs like “Give Life Back to Music” that consist of the distorted Daft Punk vocals, mixing and meshing of instrumentals are just as good.
“Random Access Memories” has its low parts of ambient instrumental driven stuff as most EDM albums do but those tracks are rare in this album. The album is a huge statement of where electronic dance music can meet recorded and tracked instrumentals.
When Daft Punk tours this album they should have a full backing band to do this album justice. Watching them manipulate their old stuff in a pyramid light show is amazing but they should take it up another notch to match this album.