Loader

Coffee BreakThe French Robots of Daft Punk

Overlay

One gold, one silver. Most people have seen a picture of these guys in crazy masks somewhere, be it at the Grammy's or in a music video, but not many people know Daft Punk for more than 'Get Lucky' and a few features here and there. For this week's Coffeebreak we are looking past their biggest hits and zoom in on what we think makes Daft Punk the most important name in Dance Music in the past 15 years.

Homework: Da Funk

Daft Punk's Homework came out in January 1997, and its title immediately shows the roots of the French duo. The album was recorded at home without much thought about an album. The two soon realised they had enough material for one though, and one of the most important records in the French house scene was born. While 'Da Funk' was a reasonable hit in its own time, it is important because it shows exactly how Daft Punk started out: rough, repetitive and catchy. The funky synthesizer sounds hard on the ears at first, but it will only take a little while before you start to feel your body moving along to the beat. Fun fact: Homework ends with a 51 second long track called 'Funk Ad', which is just Da Funk in reverse.

Discovery: Digital Love

After Homework's success, Daft Punk were faced with the pressure of creating the often oh so difficult second album. They did not disappoint. 2001's Discovery is now considered an absolute classic in the EDM genre and in electronic music as a whole. Where Homework was dirty and underground, Discovery was clean, funky, well produced and above all, very unique. This track shows exactly why. 'Digital Love' is a song about one of the French robots having a great time with someone, only for him to wake up and find out he was dreaming. While this may seem simple and cliché, the theme goes perfectly with the fantastic instrumental sound. This song features a fantastic funky sample and ends with an amazing guitar solo. That's right, a guitar solo on an electronic album, who would've thought?

Human After All: Robot Rock

2005's Human After All is a bit more controversial than its two predecessors. This is the album where many people thought Daft Punk went too Daft Punk, as it were. The songs became even more repetitive in nature and the sounds on the album were more distorted. In this way one could say the album is a mix between Discovery and Homework, but we would say it took its style further than that. Daft Punk's songs have always been repetitive, but the song Robot Rock shows that Daft Punk definitely began repeating themselves more on this album. The song uses a sample from the beginning of the song Release The Beast by Breakwater, throws in the words "Robot Rock", and keeps repeating these two elements over and over. While it is not necessarily a bad song, we actually quite like it, it is understandable that this would turn some fans off. It is however an excellent illustration of the nature of Human After All and the musical phase that Daft Punk was going through at the time.

Alive 2007: Around The World/Harder Better Faster Stronger

Where could Daft Punk go next? They created, perfected and even overdid a style so unique and recognizable on their last three albums, so what more could they have in store? Well before they released another studio project Daft Punk decided to toy with their older material some more. Alive 2007 is a live album which featured many mashups of Daft Punk songs that the duo had created live. There are many fun moments on this album where you expect one hook but another great one comes in its place and where songs you never knew sounded alike suddenly blend seamlessly. This mix of two classic Daft Punk tracks is full of these moments. It turns out that when you mix two great dance songs, you can get another great dance song!

Random Access Memories: Instant Crush

Daft Punk's latest album, 2013's Random Access Memories, showed them going in quite a different direction than before. The album features a lot of different collaborators and many different styles of music. While there is no shortage of vocoders and synths, there is also a lot of live instrumentation on many tracks, including the smash hit 'Get Lucky'. 'Instant Crush' is an interesting mix between the classic Daft Punk sound and their more modern approach. While the bulk of the instrumentation is synthesized the drums are, or at least sound, live. The vocals on this track are sung by The Strokes' frontman Julian Casablancas and his boyish voice complements the sad instrumental sound well. The track features, again, a guitar solo at the end, but this one sounds a lot cleaner than the one on Digital Love. Overall this track shows the modern Daft Punk, with their very poppy and high quality production, while retaining a bit of the spirit of the old Daft Punk. While we prefer the latter, it is undeniable that Daft Punk have made fantastic music all throughout their career, and that it has inspired many DJ's and producers around the world. Let's hope they will continue making music for many more years!

Coffeebreak

There's an incredible amount of artists and bands on this planet. Sometimes they make it to the news, yet you don't really know who they really are. 'Coffeebreak' to the rescue. In one cup of coffee, we give you a crash course: five keytracks with five paragraphs of explanation. After that you can safely join all coffee machine conversations.  
More Coffeebreak >