Daft Punk. Electro-synth. Animé. The movie ‘Interstella 5555’ is where is all of this comes together. It was love at first sight. What took my breath away (besides the really cute chick) was how masterfully Daft Punk’s album, Discovery, was used as the soundtrack. That was when I started to pay attention to the actual album.
While many consider Daft Punk’s class of music nothing but a record player stuck on a convenient groove (pun intended), I say there’s more than meets the ear. Discovery spans fourteen tracks. Each one has a unique setting and feel. Some of them, you will know, are not the greatest, but the others, the others, are just pure brilliance.
Discovery begins with ‘One more time’ and naturally so, since as a single, it was top of the charts. This track will invariably get some part of you moving, even if it’s the forty-second time you hear it. The next track, one of my favourites, ‘Aerodynamic’ has been constructed with one intention; To give you a high. There are noticeable ‘channels’ that are switched on and off, and finally a blend of everything in just the right proportions.
probably something DJ Tiesto prostrates before
‘Digital Love’ has been made popular by a couple of Nokia ads and for good reason. Now, in spite of Daft Punk’s house-electro-synth tendency the guitar-esque solo found here is comparable to solos found in some good old rock classics. ‘Harder Better Faster’ is another chart topper though the vocals might have been taken a bit too much tweaking. Kanye West’s cover adds some vocal density, but Daft Punk’s feel is unique. After some of the previous intense tracks, ‘Crescendolls’ seems more of a brawl with a mixer. It’s not something you might listen to over and over again, but functionally it serves to show the scope and span of Daft Punk.
‘Nightvision’ is a very soft track and the observable absence of drum-power gives it an almost dreamlike quality. Things take a downturn when you get to ‘Superheroes’ and ‘High life’ but they’re not that bad. They just bask in the shadow of the brilliance of the other tracks. There’s no true escape from sibling rivalry.
Once you hit ‘Something about us’, it hits you; These guys can express what they want through their music. A lot of what is done is an electro-synth mimicry of a range of possible analogue sounds from real instruments. This track lets you see how plucking can be approximated, basslines paused, chopped and muted, and a lot more. The wahwahs are a bit more pronounced than necessary, which makes it seem a bit immature but it offsets the more serious ‘dull-tone’ solo.
Suddenly, things pick up with ‘Voyager’. What you need to look out for here is the bassline. Not uncomplicated yet distinguishable. And very catchy. You might want to extract the bassline for a purer experience, and I assure you, the exercise is worth the effort. ‘Veridis Quo’ and ‘Short Circuit’ fail to impress but the occasional fling with syncopated beats is commendable.
Another one of my favourites is ‘Face to face’, which lets silence take over and establish the beat. It’s probably something DJ Tiesto prostrates before, every morning.
One identifiable formula used often by Daft punk is to let the heavy drums and bass kick in late. But when they kick in, they kick like there’s no tomorrow. I have a feeling this will never get out of fashion. Another less discernable fingerprint is the use of basslines that support a structure of loops that in turn cause shifts in the bassline.
Daft Punk’s lyrics are not the best you’ll hear, but they get the job done so let them be. The sound is in a different league altogether. Noticeably repetitive at times but that’s just to get you to notice the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) additions that fill in later. There may be a few times where you go meh, but take a step back and let all of it sink in. Call it what you like, but even like Oscar Pistorius on the run, this sounds right.
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