DAFT PUNK – RANDOM ACCESS MEMORIES

Words: Joshua Nevett
May 14, 2013

It was through snippets of half-truths and an unending trail of pseudo breadcrumbs that the initial speculation that French duo, Daft Punk were to record their generation transcending fourth LP came to the fore. It was then through drip-fed teasers at Coachella, shortly followed by a massive facepalm-of-a-leak that we heard the first product of […]


It was through snippets of half-truths and an unending trail of pseudo breadcrumbs that the initial speculation that French duo, Daft Punk were to record their generation transcending fourth LP came to the fore. It was then through drip-fed teasers at Coachella, shortly followed by a massive facepalm-of-a-leak that we heard the first product of this pledge: prickly disco primer ‘Get Lucky’. But some monolithic records are just not destined to be embargoed – shackled to a dusty hard-drive in the catacombs of Columbia Record’s HQ – so it seems a befitting irony that with one deft click of a mouse, Daft Punk’s most enigmatic album to date, ‘Random Access Memories’ was splashed across the internet and revealed to our world in an instant.

For those hyperbolic, babbling fabulists expecting vintage sound-bites stripped from the anatomy of seminal album ‘Discovery’, waxing nostalgia over Daft Punk 2.0 is significantly misplaced, because Random Access Memories is sewn with an entirely different thread altogether. Gone are the lifeless, generic animatronic idiosyncrasies of 2005 flop ‘Human After All’, and in their place is astute live instrumentation, progressive electronic techniques and the high-profile collaborators to compose a 1980s-indebted dance music fantasia – minus the cartoon mouse. Nile Rogers is one such collaborator who’s omnipresent throughout the 70-plus minutes of this prog-electro-rock opera, and his shimmering patterns of funky rhythm guitar are rendered to great effect alongside the melodious Pharrell Williams for aforementioned track ‘Get Lucky’ and ‘Lose Yourself To Dance’. But it’s not just the big budget corporate exhibitionism that underpins and dictates the direction of Random Access Memories, it’s the curve balls, the ‘oh shit, really?’ moments such as Paul William’s crystallisation of a sex starved love-droid through vintage vocoders for eight minute space ballad ‘Touch’, or the intergalactic prog-electro-rock freak-out ‘Contact’, which harnesses brutal off-kilter percussion to mind addling effect. By the time you’ve peeled back the intricate layers of androgynous mega-pop and old-school production techniques, it becomes prevalent that the exclusion of four-to-the-floor EMD floor fillers is as refreshing as it is palatable. Daft Punk’s discotheque ball may well be spinning in a counter clockwise motion, but the overarching concept of post-modern computer-rock meets early 80s disco-funk anchors Daft Punk, and Random Access Memories, firmly in the foreground.


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