Armed with an illustrious catalog of electronic dance-floor classics and a legendary live show debuted at Coachella 2006, French electronic duo Daft Punk have captivated the music world in preparation for their long-awaited fourth full-length album, Random Access Memories.
Electronic underground heroes since the mid-‘90s with seminal tracks like “Da Funk” and “Around the World” (both found on their 1997 debut, Homework), members Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo would radically reinvent Daft Punk as disco robots from another dimension for the new millennium in 2001 with the landmark release, Discovery.
For Random Access Memories, the pair has moved away from digital samplers and computer programs to recruit a glittering cast of musicians and producers (including Pharrell Williams, Strokes singer Julian Casablancas, and Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers) to craft an album that recalls dance music’s golden age.
“It’s not a statement against music made with computers today, but there are wonderful things you can do in a recording studio you can’t do at home on a laptop. That’s what we wanted to try to express,” Bangalter told Billboard about the recording process. “Is it still a show when a magician makes a trick in front of an audience, if everyone is a magician and everyone knows the trick?”
The album’s sparkling first single, “Get Lucky,” exploded on radio and the internet with vintage guitar licks and disco beats, thanks in part to the band building anticipation with a TV commercial aired during Saturday Night Live and a teaser video shown at this year’s Coachella festival to tens of thousands of music fanatics.
“The excitement and enthusiasm we had making the record, that we’re seeing in the audience right now as the record is about to be revealed, is exactly what we felt was missing somehow in music, which was not missing back in the golden age,” Bangalter said. “There’s a tremendous amount of excitement around movies, TV shows, videogames, festivals and around a lot of artists, but not around a piece of recorded music.”
Daft Punk continue to expand their vision and push the boundaries of dance music on Random Access Memories with unexpected but inspired collaborations with ‘70s songwriting legend Paul Williams (“Touch”), avant-garde musician Panda Bear of the group Animal Collective (“Doin’ It Right”) and disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder (“Giorgio by Moroder”).
“The idea of working with musicians was way beyond making it sound better,” Bangalter told Pitchfork about the “bizarre list” of collaborators that went into crafting the lush productions that make up Random Access Memories. “It was an opportunity to create something on a very personal level with people that we admire the most.”
1. “Give Life Back to Music” (featuring Nile Rodgers)
2. “The Game of Love”
3. “Giorgio by Moroder” (featuring Giorgio Moroder)
4. “Within” (featuring Chilly Gonzales)
5. “Instant Crush” (featuring Julian Casablancas)
6. “Lose Yourself to Dance” (featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers)
7. “Touch” (featuring Paul Williams)
8. “Get Lucky” (featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers)
11. “Fragments of Time” (featuring Todd Edwards)
12. “Doin’ It Right” (featuring Panda Bear)
13. “Contact” (featuring DJ Falcon)