Monday 22 February 2021

Our Work Is (Never) Over

Where do I begin here? Well, it hurts a bit that's for sure. I'm probably really underselling it there: I owe Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo a hell of a lot, for if it weren't for them, I wouldn't have followed a link on a Daft Punk fansite years ago that led to this very page you are reading now. And that's just this blog - not to mention the thousands of hours I've gotten out of their discography both as Daft Punk and in their respective solo efforts.

I wish they'd have left it till 22/2/22 to keep it cyclical with their adoption of the robot personas on 9/9/99 actually! The re-use of the imagery from Electroma where Bangalter's persona is destroyed and Guy-Manuel continues to walk off into the sunset, while fitting, makes me feel like there's going to be a million and one conspiracies about the two splitting on uneven terms or something. Not that we'll probably know, the two were very secretive and who can blame them after all? Besides, the Robot personas were just so cool to boot.

I'm kind of jumping all over the place here so apologies, but I have a lot of feelings to work through. I appreciate each of their albums in it's own unique way, would I have liked another album from the two? Sure, but Random Access Memories is also a great bookend to their career, it was a real labour of love as evidenced by the inclusion of Giorgio Moroder and all the tales about little touches that the two would do, like choosing a certain microphone to record an individual element that only goes to show how true that is.

As varied as their discography, the various collaborations also make their output unique to boot, with no fewer than 3 films to their name in the forms of D.A.F.T, a full on original anime feature film in Interstella 5555 to the art house cinema of Electroma that is the source of this video. Discovery may be one of my favourite albums of all time for sure, but it being essentially one giant music video when twinned with Interstella takes it beyond just music - it's one of my favourite experiences of all time.

This is the fourth time I've seen one of my all time favourites disband. First with DJ Mehdi, gone before his time. Second with Broadcast, cut short by the untimely death of Trish Keenan. And third in The Knife, that one hit me something fierce as they too are responsible for one of my favourite albums of all time in Silent Shout. Does it get easier? Not really, but at least this way there's still the prospect of solo work from the two of them. If you've yet to check out Roulé or Crydamoure I highly recommend it - they are quite different from the output of their combined works, but there are some real golden tracks on both of them.

So while there won't be any more 'Daft Punk' records for the time being, there's still more than enough to get stuck into if you go looking - beyond just the main albums there's a world of bootlegs, remixes, rarities and live sets to keep you going. They might not be around anymore but their music lives on, and music is forever.

I leave you now with one of my favourite bits of Daft Punk video - I was going to chuck the Encore from Alive 2007 here because that absolutely blew me away the first time I saw it (and it too, is an almost perfect retrospective of their discography both solo and together up until that point) but I suddenly had a memory trigger in my head as I was about to go looking, and I figured I'd mix it up since everyone's going to be talking about their robot personas today. So instead here is a then relatively unknown Daft Punk playing their first ever live show in the USA at Even Further in Wisconsin. I just love the raw energy of it, these rough as hell live versions of tracks from Homework, the squealing 303s, and the fact you can see Bangalter get so into it even in the first 30 seconds is just brilliantly infectious.

It's a stark contrast from their funkier output later on, but I personally love all sides of Daft Punk. Discovery is certainly the more accessible album, but Homework has its moments like Da Funk and Around The World that made a big splash on their release and almost heralded what Daft Punk would become. So, I thought I'd shine some light on it to close out on. This piece of video is a great piece of electronic music history and I'm so happy it's been preserved all these years later.

The two have certainly earned their place in the history of electronic music and their legacy will continue for years to come. As I said way back at the top, I wouldn't be here writing this had I not fallen into a Daft Punk Superfan™ phase all those years ago, so perhaps I owe them more than some. So play them out One More Time, and as always - stay safe and enjoy the music.


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