The time is fast approaching… the eager awaited album of the French duo Daft Punk is just a week away. On the 21st May we will be able to travel back in time on a huge scale.
Daft Punk emerged from the enormous talent of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, who launched their astonishing home produced album, the glorious “Homework” in 1997. The album was an entire manual on how to have fun in a discotheque. “Around the world” was the soundtrack for carefree, unpretentious bash that the mysterious couple (who’ve had hidden faces since 1996) held in the backyard of the global dance scene.
But today’s party it’s very different in all senses. The advertising campaign they are using to get the new album out there is a splendid relic of the 90s, even 80s, (although I wasn’t there to see it that decade in person). Billboards, television commercials in the intermissions of the most watched programs in the U.S., the recent ad campaign for all of Daft Punk’s outfits designed by Hedi Slimane of fashion label Saint Laurent, press trips across the world for 20 minutes interviews (presumably without the helmets). All the flavours of the album so far appear to be a heartfelt homage to the golden age of funk and disco, paying tribute to great figures such as Giorgio Moroder and Quincy Jones. The extravaganza recalls the splendor of the music industry of yesteryear, with multi-million productions, 13 tracks albums and stellar collaborations (including Pharrell Williams, Julian Casablancas, Nile Rodgers and Panda Bear).
Who could have predicted the guys that produced discs in their bedrooms would go on to drive a campaign generating such expectation that their first single “Get Lucky” would reach number 1in the UK and on Spotify within a few hours of release. It seems the simple and catchy funk theme, with the seal of approval of Nile Rodgers (who runs the entire production), is a perfect hit for modern clubs, weddings and even christenings. A hit that appeals across the board. A blockbuster.
Here is the last episode of Random Access Memories by Paul Williams.
In the end, like it or not, the disc will serve as magnificent essay to the music industry about breathing new life into the old business, using old methods of production and promotion – much like the recent Bowie release.
We are all waiting for a recovery of the essences of musical fun and inspiration for a generation of artists born in the heat of this great idea that still squeeze.
It seems the world is waiting with baited breath, whether we’re old enough to remember funk the first time round or not, to see what the Gallic maestros have in store for us.
As they say themselves: “It’s always about following the unexpected.”