Familiar Faces I’ve Never Seen: A Tribute to Daft Punk

Just before my 19th birthday, my dad gave me his old record player, a gift that excited me to no end. To go along with it, my mom tracked down a few vinyls for me. One of these vinyls ended up being Alive 1997 (2001), Daft Punk’s first live album, recorded during their Daftendirektour at Birmingham’s Que Club on November 8, 1997. My mom wasn’t particularly interested in the electronic music duo but she thought that the album title made for a cute pun since 1997 was the year I was born. I can’t say I was the biggest fan of them either at the time. Despite having lived through Daft Punk’s massive influence on pop culture for literally my entire life, I hadn’t listened to much of their stuff. That was soon about to change.

Alive 1997 (2001) was unlike anything I had ever heard before. The concert instantly drew me in with its funky samples, trance-inducing hooks, smooth yet choppy mixing, and occasional abrasiveness, all masterfully woven together with a sense of free-flowing improvisation. This sparked an on-and-off obsession with the duo and I would spend the next few years working through their discography, watching the films they directed, and reading old interviews. While all their releases had a distinct sound and concept, they were united by their high energy and the innovative approach Daft Punk took when producing them. The duo was never tied down by genre conventions, popular musical trends, or even what audiences expected of them, resulting in records that sound free-spirited and deeply genuine, even to this day. As a young university student, with a newfound sense of independence and a space to develop an identity for myself, Daft Punk’s music came at a perfect time. It became the soundtrack to many great moments throughout undergrad.

With Daft Punk recently announcing their disbandment and today marking the anniversary of their final record release, I wanted to share a retrospective on their four studio albums. I always found it fascinating how these records could be split into two groups of pairs which contrast and complement the qualities of their partner. Daft Punk’s first and final projects, Homework (1997) and Random Access Memories (2013), both defied the conventions of electronic and pop music at the time but did so in opposite ways. Likewise, both albums were deeply rooted in music of the past but took different approaches to show this influence. Daft Punk’s two middle albums, Discovery (2001) and Human After All (2005), can be viewed as reflections of society’s relationship with technology during the early-to-mid 2000s. However, these records provided strikingly different outlooks on the era.

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Revolution & Revival: Homework (1997)

& Random Access Memories (2013)

When Daft Punk frontmen Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo partnered with Virgin Records in 1996, maintaining creative control was their top priority. While the record company held distribution rights over the duo’s work, the artists still owned the master recordings through their Daft Trax label1-2. In an interview at the time, Thomas commented “we’ve got much more control than money. You can’t get everything. We live in a society where money is what people want, so they can’t get the control. We chose. Control is freedom”.3

A young Daft Punk performing at a French nightclub in 1996

At this point in their careers, the duo recorded and mixed all their songs from the comfort of Thomas’ bedroom, which is one of the reasons why Homework (1997) was given its peculiar name.4 They set up a makeshift studio with nothing more than a few sequencers, samplers, synths, drum machines, effects, and an IOMEGA zip drive.5 Thomas and Guy-Man went on to create five music videos to promote their singles Da Funk, Around the World, Burnin, Revolution 909, and Fresh, which ended up being some of Daft Punk’s most creative, strange, and brilliant works ever. These videos were spearheaded by eager young directors at the time like Spike Jonze, Roman Coppola, Michel Gondry, Seb Janiak, and Daft Punk themselves, culminating in the DVD anthology D.A.F.T.: A Story About Dogs, Androids, Firemen and Tomatoes (1999). Jonze has been quoted saying “[Daft Punk] were doing everything based on how they wanted to do it. As opposed to, ‘oh we got signed to this record company, we gotta use their plan.’ They wanted to make sure they never had to do anything that would make them feel bummed on making music”.6 Every aspect of Homework (1997) felt like the lucky outcome of Daft Punk being able to express themselves without any restrictions, and this shone through especially in the album’s unprecedented sound.

A rare photo of Thomas working in his bedroom studio

Homework (1997) pioneered French house music, a subgenre that nowadays is defined by its samples from 1970s-80s disco, its prominent use of filter and phaser effects, and its steady 4/4 time signature with beats programmed onto a Roland TR-909 drum machine. You need look no further than an album like Modjo’s self-titled Modjo (2001) to see this demonstrated to a T. Daft Punk’s first album, however, was in an interesting position since the conventions of French house had not been established yet. As a result, Homework (1997) acted as a melting pot for several house styles from prior decades, sounds from other genres, and original sonic ideas from the duo.

Da Funk, one of their most popular singles, was allegedly inspired by Thomas and Guy-Man’s interest in G-funk.4 The song Alive’s squelching beat was reminiscent of acid house from the mid-80s.5 Revolution 909, a statement against the anti-rave measures taken by the French government at the time, would not have sounded out of place in a mid-80s techno mix with its looping, throbbing structure. Fresh, one of my all-time favourites from Daft Punk, had the gradual builds and releases of mid-80s deep house7 and the hazy, mellow atmosphere of early-90s ambient house.8 Tracks like Rollin’ & Scratchin’ and Rock’n Roll adopted a distinctly intense sound. Teachers was essentially a roll call honouring all the musicians that inspired Daft Punk. A pair of vocoded voices, one high pitched and one low pitched, gave shoutouts to the pioneers of house’s diverse subgenres such as K-Alexi, DJ Pierre, and Jammin Gerald. They also name-dropped DJ Todd Edwards, Daft Punk’s contemporary and future collaborator, whose style of chopping vocal samples into bite-sized blips9 was adopted heavily in Homework (1997). Ground-breaking artists from non-electronic genres were given recognition too, including P-Funk’s mastermind George Clinton, rapper-turned-producer Dr. Dre, and Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys. It’s somewhat pointless to group Daft Punk’s songs from this era under specific labels. As Thomas said in an interview before a festival in 1997, “this is new music, so it’s a new way of doing things. There is nothing to follow. There are no rules anymore”.10

A snippet from the cover of Mixmag Vol. 2 Issue No. 75, August 1997, showing off some early ways Daft Punk kept their public identities shrouded

Underscoring all these niche sounds, however, was a warm, inviting catchiness. No matter what Homework (1997) threw at audiences, it kept their toes tapping and fists pumping. When asked about the intention behind this, Thomas once explained, “an important statement… we were trying to do with tracks like Rollin’ & Scratchin’ that were harder edged, [is] that these noises are music and it’s not just noise and can be accessible and experimental”.11 The album’s overall approachability was further aided by the fact that its more unorthodox tracks were sandwiched between fun, bubbly ones like Around the World. Along the sleeve of Homework (1997) was a quote from their ‘teacher’ Brian Wilson, “I wanted to make joyful music that made other people feel good”.10 Framed across the inside of the record’s gatefold cover was a photo of a teenager’s bedroom, strewn with items that were personally meaningful to Thomas and Guy-Man.12 Together, these stylistic choices took a genre of music usually associated with cerebral, esoteric nightclubs and framed it in a relatable, intimate, and distinctly human light.

The inside of the gatefold cover that came with vinyl pressings of Homework (1997)

In the late 90s, the mainstream EDM scene was dominated by the boisterous sound of big beat, popularized by artists like Fatboy Slim and The Chemical Brothers.5,13 In one of the best descriptions of the genre I’ve ever read, Noisy writer Jonny Coleman explained that it was all about “throwing everything in a blender—rock, techno, rap, pop, punk, whatever—to make a b-boy bouillabaisse. True to its name, the beats were decidedly fat—it was a veritable arms race to see who could come up with the chunkiest, most bombastic beats, builds, and drops”.13 By comparison, Homework (1997) with its steady, meticulous rhythms, was a far cry from what was marketable in the music industry at the time. However, Daft Punk was able to package the album in a way that allowed it to break into the mainstream, become a cultural phenomenon, and go platinum in several countries across Europe and North America.14-17 For many listeners, this was their first exposure to house music, and the album was structured in a way that walked them through it almost instructively. As Pitchfork writer Larry Fitzmaurice described, “nearly every track opens with a single sonic element—more often than not, that steady 4/4 rhythm inextricably tied to house music—adding every successive element of the track patiently, like a played-in-reverse YouTube video showcasing someone taking apart a gadget to see what’s inside”.5

Personally, what I think made Homework (1997) so impressive was the creative way it used its vintage samples. The album had this ability to draw from well-known songs and mix them into something that couldn’t be compared to any other piece of music out there. Phoenix took a snippet from Elton John & Kiki Dee’s smooth, sugary Don’t Go Breaking My Heart18 and reworked it into something punchy and exhilarating. High Fidelity took an array of scattered, millisecond-long moments from Billy Joel’s soft and melancholy Just the Way You Are18 and created a hailstorm of sound that melds into an off-kilter but flawlessly executed arrangement. How many people can listen to those two famous songs and hear what Daft Punk was able to hear? Stylistically, Homework (1997) had its roots in the past but its head in the future and this gave it what I believe to be a truly timeless sound.

Daft Punk during a promotional photoshoot for Random Access Memories (2013), which had a more noticeably vintage style. Photo by Nabil Elderkin with Warren Fu

Fast forward to the late-2000s and the mainstream music landscape was radically different from when Daft Punk first started. Electronica had exploded beyond EDM subcultures and was now adopted by practically every genre you could imagine in the pop sphere. The DIY approach to production that Daft Punk used for previous albums was more accessible than ever to anyone with Ableton Live and a SoundCloud account. After fifteen-plus years in the business, Thomas and Guy-Man felt their relationship with music changing. In an interview with Wax Poetics magazine, Thomas explained, “pop music nowadays has just become one formula… we’re not dissing this formula, we’re just saying it’s sad that there’s only one way to do it. It’s great to be able to do stuff on a laptop and in hotel rooms, but we felt like we can possibly try something else”.19 Guy-Man, usually silent during press interviews, took the time to add his own opinion, “I find that I am missing some kind of depth and soul in music. At least mainstream pop, mainstream music is a bit dull”.19 When approaching their new songs, Daft Punk wanted to move away from the TR-909 and TR-808 drum machines they had always used, longing for the airy sounds of real percussive instruments.19 In the same vein, the duo looked back at the songs they sampled from the 70s and 80s and wondered whether they could capture their essence in full. As Thomas put it,

We were always very puzzled by this. What was this invisible line between classic recordings and the contemporary time we live in where it seems that the magic was gone? Where everything happens in this kind of timeless place that’s long gone?… Would it be possible to try to put together a certain set of circumstances, an environment that would be adequate to make that invisible line disappear between the past and the present? And see if there’s still an option to create three-, four-, five-, six-, seven-, eight-minute song recordings that still have the same kind of feel, texture, spirit, or magic that we could find in those three-second samples that we were using.19

Thomas Bangalter

It wasn’t long before Daft Punk decided they were going to do just that, “go into the studio with the best players and the best engineer, the people who lived that era”19 and create an album the old fashioned way. Practically everything on this new project was performed with live instruments and recorded on analogue tape in historical venues like New York’s Electric Lady and L.A.’s Capitol Studios.20 Modular synths and vocoders were only used as embellishments on songs to maintain a “conceptual bridge” with the duo’s previous work.19 Daft Punk wrote practically every track as an original composition with only their final song, Contact, featuring an extended sample from The Sherbs’ We Ride Tonight. A significant effort was put towards maximizing the audio fidelity throughout the project, something especially noticeable on subtly textured instrumental tracks like Motherboard. Much of the album’s rich, detailed soundscape was thanks to the knowledge and skills of Mick Guzauski, a seasoned mix engineer whose accolades speak for themselves.21 Mastering of the album was undertaken by the equally accomplished Bob Ludwig22 and Antoine Chabert. Peter Franco, who had worked closely with Daft Punk in the past, took on a role as one of the many recording engineers.23

Mick Guzauski (right) and Peter Franco (left) hard at work in the recording studio

When it came to their musical predecessors, Daft Punk did more than just acknowledge them this time around. The duo invited several legendary artists from previous decades to collaborate on the album. Nile Rodgers, co-founder of Chic, shared a mutual respect with Daft Punk and they had apparently planned on collaborating for a long time.24 He provided guitar work for the disco and funk infused tracks Give Life Back to Music, Lose Yourself to Dance, and Get Lucky.25 Giorgio Moroder, considered by many to be the pioneer of euro disco, provided an interview about his life for the eponymous song Giorgio by Moroder.25 The track was a journey, opening with only Giorgio’s voice against an ambient backdrop of a busy restaurant. It progressed into a gentle disco riff, then switched to a synth-pop number reminiscent of Moroder’s own work, followed by a jazzy electric piano solo, a sweeping symphonic movement, and some old school record scratching, only to finish with a gloriously over-the-top guitar solo.

Giorgio Moroder (centre) pictured with Daft Punk

Paul Williams, veteran singer and trusted songwriter for icons like David Bowie, the Carpenters, and Three Dog Night, also lent a hand on this new record. Daft Punk allegedly were major fans of his after seeing him star in Brian De Palma’s rock musical horror comedy film Phantom of the Paradise (1974), the soundtrack to which he also composed.19-20 Williams provided lyrics and vocals for Daft Punk’s song Touch25, which I can only describe as an eclectic, gut-wrenching rollercoaster of a showtune and which Guy-Man has described as the core of the album, something which all the other songs revolve around like memories.20

To further add to the madness, Daft Punk featured a slew of contemporary artists from all walks of life on the album as well. The lineup included Pharrell Williams, Julian Casablancas, Panda Bear, Chilly Gonzales, Todd Edwards, and DJ Falcon. The way Thomas described it, “it feels like a bit of a Tarantino cast. Where on paper, it doesn’t make sense, but when you see it, it does. It creates something that makes Tarantino movies not a pastiche and exactly like an old movie, but actually something that is a fusion”.19 And a fusion it was, combining elements of disco, funk, soul, jazz, progressive pop, and soft rock, among other genres, in one large celebration of music. After five painstaking years in production19, this project came to be known as Random Access Memories (2013). Despite being the farthest thing possible from a modern release and sounding unlike any Daft Punk album that came before it, Random Access Memories (2013) was quickly accepted by those who saw exactly what it brought to the table. It received widespread critical acclaim and earned five Grammys including Album of the Year and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.26

The eclectic team of musicians go on stage to accept their award

Where Homework (1997) honoured the songs of the past by giving them new life, Random Access Memories (2013) revived their original spirit by emulating them as accurately as possible. As Thomas had said, the latter album was not intended to be a retro-futurist throwback to a bygone era. It was designed to capture the feeling of music from that time and bring it back to the present day. In that respect, I would argue that Random Access Memories (2013) has a timeless quality to it as well.

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Ideal & Real: Discovery (2001)

& Human After All (2005)

For many people, the dawn of the new millennium was a time of optimism and eager anticipation. After more than fifty years of exponential technological advancement, it was easy to feel a renewed sense of childlike wonder imagining a utopic future just around the corner. In the United States at least, a staggering 81% of adults were optimistic about the 21st century, with technology’s potential to improve their lives being a major reason why.27 When Daft Punk dropped their second album on March 12, 2001, it seemed to resonate with this hopeful daydream on everyone’s minds.

Discovery (2001) was a completely different concept than Homework (1997). It moved towards more conventional pop song structures and adopted a colourful, melodious, and cinematic sound. This distinction was clear from the opening track One More Time, a family-friendly dance anthem that invited listeners to escape into the music and celebrate. Taking a note from garage house8, Discovery (2001) took longer samples from pop, disco, funk, soul, new wave, and progressive rock, and rather than chopping and scrambling those sounds, the album let their original character shine through. Edwin Birdsong’s bouncy keyboard work from Cola Bottle Baby was the basis of Daft Punk’s hit single Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. Superheroes’ grand musical progression revolves around a looped vocal sample from Barry Manilow’s Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed. The manically groovy Crescendolls is almost entirely built out of hooks from Little Anthony and the Imperials’ Can You Imagine. Daft Punk also tried their hand at original compositions on Discovery (2001), resulting in tracks like the laid back and atmospheric Voyager and the unexpectedly baroque Veridis Quo.

A snippet of an interview done with Daft Punk in 2001 by Tokyo-based magazine Plus81

Fantasy seemed to be a recurring theme throughout Discovery (2001), and the lyrics to the album’s pop-rock track Digital Love provided an interesting example of this. Rather than speaking directly about someone special, the singer recounts a dream they had about them and vows that one day they’ll get closer to each other. Perhaps the song was alluding to the long-distance virtual relationships that became possible during the advent of home computers, the types of relationships didn’t really exist beyond each partner’s heads and their online chatrooms. Looking more broadly, the overall smooth mixing on the album also played into the idea of creating a fantasy. If Homework (1997) actively drew your attention to its cuts and other meta production techniques, Discovery (2001) did all it could to keep you immersed in its fabricated dreamscape. The main hook on Face to Face layered at least six different songs from artists like ELO, The Alan Parson’s Project, Kenny Loggins, and Dan Fogelberg.28 However, these snippets were spliced together so seamlessly that they could have easily been mistaken for samples from a single piece of music.

The themes of fantasy and optimism continued in the media surrounding the album. In an interview, Thomas explained that Discovery (2001) aimed to capture the experiences he and Guy-Man had growing up between 1975 and 1985.29 When planning the music videos for the album, Daft Punk decided to make one feature-length animated film and have their songs serve as its soundtrack. As children, Thomas and Guy-Man were big fans of anime from Leiji Matsumoto, particularly his sci-fi epic Space Pirate Captain Harlock (1978).30-31 After assembling a team of writers and drafting a scenario, Daft Punk pitched their idea to Toei Animation in the hopes of working with Matsumoto. The film, titled Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem (2003), was ultimately greenlit and Matsumoto agreed to take on the role of supervising director.32 Interstella told the story of an alien pop group who were abducted and sent to earth by an evil band manager, saved by one of their heroic fans, and returned to their planet through the teamwork and ingenuity of humans. Most of the film is set in an idyllic, vibrant, near-future version of our own planet. In a bit of a twist ending, it is implied that the entire film was dreamt up by a young boy as he played with his action figures and listened to Daft Punk.

Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem (2003) had an art style that was unmistakably Matsumoto’s

To round everything out, the release of Discovery (2001) also marked the point where Daft Punk’s public image changed in accordance with the technological optimism of the time. To keep audiences focused on their music instead of on them as celebrities, the duo collaborated with special effects designer Tony Gardner to create their now iconic robot costumes.33 Guy-Man once explained,

Looking at robots is not like looking at an idol. It’s not a human being, so it’s more like a mirror– the energy people send to the stage bounces back and everybody has a good time together rather than focusing on us.20

Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo

Donning their helmets and stepping into their silent, sci-fi personas, Thomas and Guy-Man shrouded themselves in a layer of mystery which was certain to capture the imaginations of new fans. It’s worth noting that the first iterations of Daft Punk’s costumes were the most lively they had ever been, with rainbow LEDs filling their visors, colourful retro suits to match, and cables flowing from the back of their helmets like braided hair. Between the new stylistic direction of Discovery (2001), its nostalgic movie tie in, and the introduction of their exciting robot personas, Daft Punk were the perfect candidates to welcome the new millennium with open arms.

Daft Punk reveal their vibrant and vintage new look to the world

By 2005, people’s arms were not as open, and some became uncertain whether this was the future they wanted after all. As technology became a more integral and accessible part of people’s lives, its issues became that much more visible. Personal computers were at constant risk of being infected with malware (as one of the many 2000s kids who tried using LimeWire on my family’s desktop, I can attest that it was rough). With the internet now just a few clicks away, parents could never be certain about what their children might be exposed to. Wi-Fi compatibility was also becoming the standard for cellphones, making it near impossible to escape the information overload from whatever ad agencies wanted to saturate us with on a given day. When Daft Punk released Human After All (2005), it certainly seemed tinted by these harsh realities.

In one interview, Thomas described the album and the media surrounding it as “extremely tormented and sad and terrifying looks at technology”.34 In another, he claimed that the album was “about this feeling of either fear or paranoia… not something intended to make you feel good”.35 These ideas were expressed pretty accurately in the overall sound of Human After All (2005). Listeners came face-to-face with something grungy, crackly, mechanical, and full of static. The album took on a distinctly dance-rock style, incorporating electric guitars that were sometimes filtered and distorted beyond recognition.

Daft Punk updated their outfits to better reflect the tone of Human After All (2005)

The tone of individual songs on Human After All (2005) was also noticeably more somber and cynical. The opening track began with Thomas and Guy-Man’s recognizable robot voices, first heard in Discovery (2001). They greeted the audience with the following lyrics, “We are human / After all / Much in common / After all”. If the previous era of Daft Punk built a whimsical persona for the duo, these few lines stripped that all away and brought listeners back to reality. Tracks like Steam Machine and The Brainwasher also had lyrics, but they weren’t sung by Thomas and Guy-Man. Instead, the vocals took on a demonic timbre that hissed and snarled at the audience. The second half of Prime Time of Your Life was probably the first time Daft Punk put out something anxiety-provoking, with its pulsatile, buzzing growl getting progressively faster and more intense. Make Love was the antithesis of Digital Love from Discovery (2001). It featured Guy-Man dejectedly whimpering the song’s title against a distant backdrop of piano and bass, as if the intimate act had become heartless and transactional for the poor robot in these disconnected times. Technologic featured a high-pitched vocoded voice, like the one on Teachers from Homework (1997), except this time without its low-pitched friend. Rather than listing influential musicians, it gave commands like “buy it, use it, break it, fix it, trash it, change it, mail, upgrade it” practically trying to indoctrinate the listener into digital consumer culture. Daft Punk’s robot voices return for the album’s conclusion, Emotion, where they moan the song’s title against a melancholy and droning chord progression.

Thomas and Guy-Man once again directed and wrote a feature film to accompany their new album, but it couldn’t have been more different from what came before it. Electroma (2006) was a live-action sci-fi drama starring Daft Punk’s robot personas. The story revolved around the two characters as they try in vain to become human. They go to a futuristic facility that covers their helmets with humanoid latex masks, humorous caricatures of Thomas and Guy-Man’s real faces. When the duo leave the facility, they are met with hostility from other robots who begin to chase them as their masks melt in the sun. The film ends with the two of them giving up and self-destructing. In addition to Electroma (2006), Daft Punk produced individual music videos to promote their singles. The videos for Robot Rock and Television Rules the Nation are noticeably dark and grainy. The ones for Technologic and Prime Time of Your Life borderline on nightmarish, with imagery that ties back to the album’s theme of fearing technology.

A shot from the final scene of Electroma (2006), robot Guy-Man mourns over the remains of robot Thomas

This era of Daft Punk saw their costumes evolve once again to align with the new mood of their music. Their colourful blazers were replaced with black leather jackets, the cable hair pieces were nowhere to be found, and the smile on Thomas’ mask became jaded into a more neutral expression. Ultimately, if Discovery (2001) captured people’s hopes for an ideal future, Human After All (2005) lamented what was shaping up to be a pretty dystopic present.

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Daft Punk followed their third album with a momentous live tour, Alive 2006/2007. Perched on stages shaped like otherworldly pyramids, Thomas and Guy-Man put on thunderous performances to stadiums full of overjoyed fans. The setlist wove together tracks from all three previous albums (plus that one song released by Stardust – a non-starter side project spearheaded by Thomas, French house artist Alan Braxe, and vocalist Benjamin Diamond in 1998). It was truly a celebration of everything Daft Punk had been able to create in their diverse careers thus far. Younger generations of electronic artists like Panda Bear and Skrillex were among those present in the audience and have called it the best concert they’ve ever seen.20 Alive 2007 (2007), the live album that came from this tour, received critical acclaim and won a Grammy that year for Best Electronic/Dance Album.36

A view from Daft Punk’s stage during their Alive 2006/2007 tour

In some ways, Alive 2006/2007 was Daft Punk’s farewell concert for their fans fourteen years in advance. By this point in their careers, the duo had grown immensely as artists and seemed ready to move on. In an interview around the time of Random Access Memories (2013), Thomas reflected,

Most of the time, we feel more like the producer of the robots, which have developed their own personality. So in some sense, everyone was like, “Okay, let’s do this record for the robots.” We’re just the producer on this thing, so everybody was excited. These are personas that people are digging. In some sense, between fiction and reality. But there’s so much distance.20

Thomas Bangalter

Thomas and Guy-Man followed up Alive 2007 (2007) by composing the soundtrack for TRON: Legacy (2009) and completing their work on Random Access Memories (2013). After that final album release, Daft Punk seemed to take bigger and bigger steps away from the spotlight. They prioritized producing music for other artists, including Kanye West, LCD Soundsystem, The Weeknd, and Arcade Fire. It was apparent even years in advance that the duo weren’t really planning to carry the torch with an Alive 2017 tour.20 When Daft Punk announced their disbandment this year, it was certainly sad for me as a fan, but it also felt like a natural conclusion for them. The silent robots reinvented themselves and conquered pop music many times over, and in the process put out a very respectable discography. Perhaps now was the right time to take off their helmets for good and commit to being Thomas and Guy-Man once again.

I am incredibly thankful that Daft Punk could be a part of my life and I’m sure many others feel the same way. For multiple generations, the electronic music duo captured the hearts of fans and musicians alike. It’s difficult to turn on the radio without hearing Daft Punk’s DNA somewhere, be it in songs from the past that inspired them or modern tracks that they have inspired in turn. In that respect, I believe that the duo will live on forever. At the very least, I know Daft Punk’s fragments of time will keep playing at my house.

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References

1. RFI (2021, March). Daft Punk – Biographie, discographie et fiche artiste. RFI Musique.

2. Woholeski, Peter (2001, May). One More Time: Four Years After Its Filter Filled Splashdown, Daft Punk Retirns With Discovery – Complete with House Beats, Disco Sweeps and, Yes, Plenty of Vocoders. Archived 22 August 2001 at the Wayback Machine. DJ Times.

3. Moayeri, Lily (2007, June 9). Punk As They Wanna Be. Yahoo. Archived from the original on 9 June 2007.

4. Strage, Fredrik (2010, June 14). [POP #23] Daft Punk. TIDSKRIFTEN POP REVISITED.

5. Fitzmaurice, Larry (2018, December 2). Daft Punk: Homework. Pitchfork.

6. Jonze, Spike (2003). The Work of Director Spike Jonze companion book. Palm Pictures.

7. RAC (2020, January 28). Evolution of Deep House. Recording Arts Canada.

8. RAC (2020, January 27). Evolution of House Music. Recording Arts Canada.

9. Reynolds, Simon (2013, February). The Wire 300: Simon Reynolds on the Hardcore Continuum Series #6: Two-Step Garage (1999). The Wire Magazine.

10. Collin, Matthew (2017, January 20). NO MORE RULES: HOW DAFT PUNK’S ‘HOMEWORK’ CHANGED DANCE MUSIC FOREVER. Mixmag.

11. 909 Originals (2018, May 28). How Jeff Mills influenced Daft Punk’s ‘Rollin and Scratchin’’. 909 Originals.

12. Turner, Dave (2017, January 20). Daft Punk’s iconic ‘Homework’ gatefold sleeve explained. Mixmag.

13. Coleman, Jonny (2016, October 14). In Defense of Big Beat, the Annoying 90s Music Genre That Snobs Love to Hate. Noisey – VICE.

14. Ultratop − Goud en Platina – albums 2007. Ultratop. Hung Medien.

15. Canadian album certifications – Daft Punk – Homework. Music Canada.

16. SNEP Gold and Platinum Search for albums by Daft Punk Archived 13 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine SNEP.

17. New Zealand album certifications – Daft Punk – Homework. Recorded Music NZ.

18. Ste Vene (2020, December 2). Daft Punk: Official & Unofficial samples [PART 1 – Da Funk EP, Homework]. . YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a6A-KaS5sk&ab_channel=SteVene

19. Torres, Andre (2021, February 22). QUANTUM LEAP: DAFT PUNK GO FROM SAMPLING DISCO RECORDS TO CREATING A DANCE MASTERPIECE. Wax Poetics.

20. Dombal, Ryan (2013, May 14). Cover Story: Daft Punk. Pitchfork.

21. Becka, Kevin (2006, June 1). Mix Interview: Mick Guzauski. Mix Online. Archived from the original on August 5, 2009.

22. Bob Ludwig | Artist. Recording Academy.

23. MusicTech.net (2018, April 7). Recording Spotlight: Daft Punk – Random Access Memories. MusicTech.

24. Tregoning, Jack (2013, March 23). Exclusive: Daft Punk’s new album Random Access Memories is ‘smoking’. In The Mix.

25. Random Access Memories (liner notes). Daft Punk. Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. 2013.

26. 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards Nominees. National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

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28. Ste Vene (2020, December 5). Daft Punk: Official & Unofficial samples [PART 2 – Discovery, Human After All, RAM]. . YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQx935-IK4k&t=46s&ab_channel=SteVene

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