Sep 02, 2013 07:17pm
Daft Punk- Random Access Memories delivers a right hook
May 25, 2013 - 8:24pm

I have personal relationship with Daft Punk. The French duo has been a large part of my life for over a decade. How personal is personal?

I lost my virginity to their 2001 masterpiece, Discovery.

Anyway, now that I have that in the open, lets dive into Random Access Memories (RAM). The hype around this record reached a level that I haven’t seen since the Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, so does it live up to the massive, massive hype pedestal the record has been placed upon?


Well, no.

Well…. Yes?

You can tell that the House genre of techno that Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel “Guy-Man” de Homem-Christo pushed into the limelight with their 1997 single Around The World is in there, at it’s core, but spiraling out of it is a thank you to what House music was built upon.

This record is a thank you to disco.

Just glancing at the personnel on this album is a dead giveaway. Bangalter and Guy-Man reached out to the pioneers of early electronica and disco and managed to snag a couple of big names.

Producer Giorgio Moroder (who worked with Donna Summer), songwriter Paul Williams (who penned Rainbow Connection) and Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers (awww Freak Out!) are mixed liberally with modern artists like Pharrell Williams, Julian Casablancas, Panda Bear, DJ Falcon, Chilly Gonzales and Todd Edwards.

The production throughout the album is lovingly done. The tightness of the live drums intertwining with the bass, the slathering of synths and guitar that’s been ripped right out of Studio 54; it feels like each note on RAM, which has been in the works since 2005, has been crafted with the purpose of reuniting the old with the new.

The highlight of this culmination of retro feel is the track Giorgio by Moroder. This nine-minute epic starts with Moroder speaking about how he found “the sound of the future” before the song segues into a sequencer-driven beat that slowly climaxes until it finally breaks into a cacophony of ultra-sophisticated drumming, guitar riffs and strings that feels like you’re ascending to synthesizer heaven.

Sadly, that’s about as rambunctious as the album gets. Ballads like The Game of Love and Within show up early and really derail the flow of the record, which is my biggest gripe; it doesn’t feel cohesive. You can’t put this record on and not feel inclined to skip over a track or two, with the lowlights of the album being a toss-up between Lose Yourself to Dance or Doin’ It Right.

And yes, while the album is a hefty 74 minutes long, the more sprawling tracks don’t feel boring or drawn out for the sake of being drawn out. I didn’t squirm once during my initial listens.

Overall, the mission of this album was to knock modern dance music on its ass. And while Daft Punk hasn’t quite done that, they delivered one hell of a right hook to the gut of electronic music.



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