Monday 25 April 2022

Back To The Punk

Going to get wistful for a bit here if you'll indulge me. It's been about a year since Daft Punk announced their split, and I figured they'd just slip back into the background as they always did anyway, and they sort of have - but recently their YT channel has been updating pretty regularly with some interesting stuff, more on that in a minute.

So what have we missed in the last year or so? Well, The Daft Club, the fan-site that I used to be on as a tween shut down upon the news. Sort of sad really as it could have still carried on I feel, they sure as hell managed fine without any news at all between the release of Random Access Memories and the split - but then again I was really only ever lurker anyway. The real reason it hurts a bit is that TDC was actually how I found this site, with a promo post by former owner Jordan - and if I hadn't then you probably wouldn't have been reading this right now.

A 25th anniversary edition of Homework was released which features a ton of remixes including previously super rare mixes of Around The World, though disappointingly the Armand Van Helden rework of Da Funk isn't included - but that was the B-side to the Musique EP I suppose so not part of Homework technically. Nice to see, but if you've been a longtime fan you either have or have heard all those mixes already.

Anyway, the focus of today is going to be the recent influx of 'from the archives' footage and content that's making an appearance. The archivist in me loves seeing stuff like this, it's a great resource and seeing it like this, freed from the old probably VHS/DVD sources of yore is fantastic. It's all to do with Around The World today, and we kick off with the video itself with audio commentary by director Michel Gondry. The late 90's to early 00's were a wild time with superstar directors putting out weird and wonderful music videos of all kinds - Spike Jonze, Chris Cunningham and of course Gondry himself being but a few. Around The World is one of those iconic videos - the kind that gives everyone an 'oooooooh' moment when you realise that each group of dancers represents an element of the song (A concept which Gondry would re-use for the Chemical Brothers' Star Guitar), super interesting to hear this commentary.

Expanding on that even further we have a ton of behind the scenes footage from the set as well - which really highlights some of the things Gondry mentions in the commentary such as the computer setup for the lighting. As someone who works in a similar sphere, its humbling and a bit quaint to see the monstrosity of a setup needed to do something like triggering lights. The editing feels a little fast, sometimes too fast IMO - no idea if that was how it was originally or it's been re-edited for the 2020 world of social media. Either way, a very interesting look into the process, one that the archivist in me again really appreciates.

One last one to complete the archive, a very animated Gondry discussing the video and process. Another interesting slice from the archives, albeit one that kind of covers the same ground as the initial commentary. Not too sure about the weird filter on it but that is apparently how it is on the DVD anyway. Here's hoping that the rest of D.A.F.T is next, the videos for Revolution 909, Da Funk and Fresh are all equally iconic in their own right (and also boast Spike Jonze among others on the directing front) and I'd love to see the BTS footage and content for them again. That goes double for Interstella 5555, the duo's collaboration with Leiji Matsumoto that is essentially one giant music video for the whole of Discovery!

Having a flip through and reading the descriptions I actually think these were all just DVD extras from D.A.F.T but I don't mind too much because in the grand scheme of Daft Punk stuff I feel like it's a little unknown. And besides, as I've said many times in this post: the more sources there are for these things there are, the better. The Daft Punk superfan version of myself circa 2007/8 would have loved all of this content being so easily accessible and would have no doubt made an appearance and influence on my brief dip into the world of Filmmaking.

I realise now that there hasn't really been any 'music' in this post as of yet, so I leave you all with one final mix - the 'official video' for the KenLou (Kenny Gonzalez & Louie Vega of Masters At Work fame) mix. It's made up of clips from the above so there's not a lot of new content - likewise for the mix, the two take a fairly hands off approach, injecting Around The World with a little bit of funk but keeping most of the main body. I do wonder if they'll do similar for other mixes and behind the scenes footage, it'll be interesting to see which mixes get picked for the official treatment - Around The World has tons of mixes by itself after all. Well that'll about do it for this time around, I'll be back soon with more but until next time - as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


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