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Electro - Released May 17, 2013 | Columbia

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - 5 étoiles Rock and Folk - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Exceptional Sound Productions - Hi-Res Audio
When Daft Punk announced they were releasing a new album eight years after 2005's Human After All, fans were starved for new material. The Tron: Legacy score indulged the seminal dance duo's sci-fi fantasies but didn't offer much in the way of catchy songs, so when Random Access Memories' extensive publicity campaign featured tantalizing clips of a new single, "Get Lucky," their fan base exploded. But when the album finally arrived, that hugely hyped single was buried far down its track list, emphasizing that most of these songs are very much not like "Get Lucky" -- or a lot of the pair's previous music, at least on the surface. The album isn't much like 2010s EDM, either. Instead, Daft Punk separate themselves from most contemporary electronic music and how it's made, enlisting some of their biggest influences to help them get the sounds they needed without samples. On Homework's "Teachers," they reverently name-checked a massive list of musicians and producers; here, they place themselves on equal footing with disco masterminds Giorgio Moroder and Nile Rodgers, referring to them as "collaborators." That could be self-aggrandizing, yet it's also strangely humble when they take a back seat to their co-stars, especially on one of RAM's definitive moments, "Giorgio by Moroder," where the producer shares his thoughts on making music with wild guitar and synth solos trailing behind him. Elsewhere, Daft Punk nod to their symbiotic relationship with indie on the lovely "Doin' It Right," which makes the most of Panda Bear's boyish vocals, and on the Julian Casablancas cameo "Instant Crush," which is only slightly more electronic than the Strokes' Comedown Machine. And of course, Pharrell Williams is the avatar of their dancefloor mastery on the sweaty disco of "Lose Yourself to Dance" as well as "Get Lucky," which is so suave that it couldn't help but be an instant classic, albeit a somewhat nostalgic one. Indeed, "memories" is the album's keyword: Daft Punk celebrate the late '70s and early '80s with lavish homages like "Give Life Back to Music" -- one of several terrific showcases for Rodgers -- and the spot-on soft rock of the Todd Edwards collaboration "Fragments of Time." More importantly, Random Access Memories taps into the wonder and excitement in that era's music. A particularly brilliant example is "Touch," where singer/songwriter Paul Williams conflates his work in Phantom of the Paradise and The Muppet Movie in the song's mystique, charm, and fragile yet unabashed emotions. Often, there's an almost gooey quality to the album; Daft Punk have never shied away from "uncool" influences or sentimentality, and both are on full display here. At first, it's hard to know what to make of all the fromage, but Random Access Memories reveals itself as the kind of grand, album rock statement that listeners of the '70s and '80s would have spent weeks or months dissecting and absorbing -- the ambition of Steely Dan, Alan Parsons, and Pink Floyd are as vital to the album as any of the duo's collaborators. For the casual Daft Punk fan, this album might be harder to love than "Get Lucky" hinted; it might be too nostalgic, too overblown, a shirking of the group's duty to rescue dance music from the Young Turks who cropped up in their absence. But Random Access Memories is also Daft Punk's most personal work, and richly rewarding for listeners willing to spend time with it. ~ Heather Phares
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Electro - Released July 3, 2013 | Columbia

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Electro - Released April 20, 2013 | Columbia

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Dance - Released March 7, 2001 | Parlophone France

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Four long years after their debut, Homework, Daft Punk returned with a second full-length, also packed with excellent productions and many of the obligatory nods to the duo's favorite stylistic speed bumps of the 1970s and '80s. Discovery is by no means the same record, though. Deserting the shrieking acid house hysteria of their early work, the album moves in the same smooth filtered disco circles as the European dance smashes ("Music Sounds Better with You" and "Gym Tonic") that were co-produced by DP's Thomas Bangalter during the group's long interim. If Homework was Daft Punk's Chicago house record, this is definitely the New York garage edition, with co-productions and vocals from Romanthony and Todd Edwards, two of the brightest figures based in New Jersey's fertile garage scene. Also in common with classic East Coast dance and '80s R&B, Discovery surprisingly focuses on songwriting and concise productions, though the pair's visions of bucolic pop on "Digital Love" and "Something About Us" are delivered by an androgynous, vocoderized frontman singing trite (though rather endearing) love lyrics. "One More Time," the irresistible album opener and first single, takes Bangalter's "Music Sounds Better with You" as a blueprint, blending sampled horns with some retro bass thump and the gorgeous, extroverted vocals of Romanthony going round and round with apparently endless tweakings. Though "Aerodynamic" and "Superheroes" have a bit of the driving acid minimalism associated with Homework, here Daft Punk is more taken with the glammier, poppier sound of Eurodisco and late R&B. Abusing their pitch-bend and vocoder effects as though they were going out of style (about 15 years too late, come to think of it), the duo loops nearly everything they can get their sequencers on -- divas, vocoders, synth-guitars, electric piano -- and conjures a sound worthy of bygone electro-pop technicians from Giorgio Moroder to Todd Rundgren to Steve Miller. Daft Punk are such stellar, meticulous producers that they make any sound work, even superficially dated ones like spastic early-'80s electro/R&B ("Short Circuit") or faux-orchestral synthesizer baroque ("Veridis Quo"). The only crime here is burying the highlight of the entire LP near the end. "Face to Face," a track with garage wunderkind Todd Edwards, twists his trademarked split-second samples and fully fragmented vision of garage into a dance-pop hit that could've easily stormed the charts in 1987. Daft Punk even manage a sense of humor about their own work, closing with a ten-minute track aptly titled "Too Long." ~ John Bush

Dance - Released January 16, 1997 | Parlophone France

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, the two French twenty-something DJs who make up Daft Punk, are relentless dance music aficionados and historians. And unlike many of their contemporaries, their interests don't just lie in the electronic beats that have been rockin' the clubs since the mid-'80s. The two knob-twiddlers are just as well-versed in Giorgio Moroder's Euro-disco grooves, Chic, and the old-school rhythms of Afrika Bambaataa and the Sugarhill Records catalog as they are in the Chicago house and Detroit techno traditions. When they're not assembling catchy-as-hell bits of electro-pop ("Around the World"), throwing down slabs of minimalist funk ("Da Funk"), or marrying Miami bass to Kraftwerk-ian blips ("Oh Yeah"), Homem-Christo and Bangalter try to impart a little knowledge. On "Teachers," they use a Ween-esque distorted vocal line to name-check a broad list of influences who includes Brian Wilson, Dr. Dre, and Armand Van Helden. Their broad focus, utopian determination, and, of course, their way with a beat earn Daft Punk's Homework a well-deserved 'A'.

Electro - Released April 1, 2011 | Parlophone Catalogue

While Daft Punk’s moody, electro-symphonic score to Tron: Legacy captured its ambition perfectly -- and, arguably, may have been the best thing about the movie -- it didn’t quite satisfy fans looking for dancefloor movers. Tron: Legacy Reconfigured rectifies that by letting the French duo’s peers loose on the film’s music. With a varied group of artists ranging from established names (Moby, the Crystal Method, Paul Oakenfold) to up-and-comers (Com Truise, Pretty Lights), the collection offers eclectic tangents on the retro-futuristic musical world Daft Punk created. While the acts involved don’t offer many surprises, they do what they do well, with the Teddybears giving “Adagio for Tron” a playful pulse and the Crystal Method injecting “The Grid” with adrenalized beats. Oakenfold’s reworking of “C.L.U.” is just as easily identifiable as his work as it is Daft Punk's in its massive atmospheres and rhythms; likewise, Boys Noize and Photek turn in versions of “End of Line” that are distinctive and cohesive at the same time. Even though the energy in remixes like Japanese Popstars' percussive take on “Arena” and AVICII's fizzy remix of “Derezzed” is welcome, some of Tron: Legacy Reconfigured's best moments aren’t danceable. Moby brings a patient grace to “The Son of Flynn,” and M83 and Big Black Delta's collaboration on “Fall” uncovers the track’s dreamy romance. Reconfigured may not be as striking as the original Tron: Legacy score, but it is an enjoyable, more accessible extension of it. ~ Heather Phares

Electro - Released December 3, 2010 | Parlophone Catalogue

"The Game Has Changed" is the name of one of the tracks on Daft Punk's score to Tron: Legacy, and it also fits Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo's music for the film. When it was announced that the duo would score the sequel to one of sci-fi's most visionary movies, it seemed like the perfect fit: Their sleek, neon-tipped, playful aesthetic springs from their love of late-'70s and early-'80s pop culture artifacts like Tron. However, Tron: Legacy takes a much darker, more serious approach than the original film and Daft Punk follows suit, delivering soaring and ominous pieces that sound more like modern classical music than any laser tag-meets-roller disco fantasies fans may have had. Tron: Legacy's legitimacy as a score may surprise listeners unaware of Bangalter's fine work on 2003's Irreversible; while that score actually hews closer to Daft Punk's sound, it showed his potential for crafting music beyond the duo's usual scope. Working with the London Orchestra, Bangalter and de Homem-Christo fuse electronic and orchestral motifs seamlessly and strikingly. "The Game Has Changed" may be the most dramatic example: It starts with a wistful wisp of melody that sounds like a ghost in the machine, then swells of strings and brass and buzzsaw electronics submerge but never quite overtake it. Elsewhere, "Recognizer"'s pulsing horns and synths and "The Son of Flynn"'s arpeggios and strings are so tightly knit that they finish each others' phrases. Daft Punk get in a few clever nods to Wendy Carlos' Tron score, from "The Grid"'s blobby analog synth tones to "Adagio for Tron"'s mournful sense of lost wonder. However, for most of Tron: Legacy, they're concerned with pushing boundaries. It's not until the score's second half that the duo's more typical sound emerges on "Derezzed"'s filter-disco and on "End of the Line," where witty 8-bit sounds evoke '80s video games. These tracks come as welcome relief from the tension Daft Punk ratchets up on almost every other piece, particularly "Rectifier" and "C.L.U." Encompassing the past, present, and future of sci-fi scores, Tron: Legacy feels like it grew and mutated from its origins the same way the film's world did. Without a doubt, it's a game-changer for Daft Punk. ~ Heather Phares

Electro - Released March 31, 2006 | Parlophone France

Daft Punk titled their hits compilation with an indicator (Vol. 1) that more would be forthcoming, and it's easy to believe that in a dozen years, another dozen singles could be collected with no drop in quality. Unlike their contemporaries coming of age during the rise of electronica, Messrs. Bangalter and de Homem-Christo structured their tracks with drop-dead hooks, peerless beats that were perfect for the dancefloor or the living room, and an innovative production sense. Although Musique, Vol. 1: 1993-2005 won't be necessary for longtime fans, it boasts a few inclusions that should lure in even those who have each of the first three albums. The first reason is its opener, "Musique," actually a B-side (of debut single "Da Funk") whose basement sonics and filter-disco vocal treatment made it the best side of Daft Punk's best single. The second excellent tactic is including three of Daft Punk's greatest remixes, including the electro-shocked "Mothership Reconnection" (originally by Scott Grooves) and "Chord Memory" (originally by Ian Pooley). During their first dozen years, virtually all of Daft Punk's best productions were singles (the only exception being "Face to Face" from Discovery), and Musique is the best example why the duo was tops in electronica from the late '90s to the turn of the millennium. ~ John Bush

Dance - Released March 14, 2005 | Parlophone France

Daft Punk has always been one of dance music's most flexible -- and accessible -- acts, spanning the relentless pulse of Homework and the lush, sprawling Discovery with a distinctive wit and playfulness that made fans of electronic music diehards and indie rockers alike. Though the long-awaited Human After All retains that playfulness, it's the duo's simplest album, which oddly enough, makes it their most difficult to embrace at first. Human After All was made in six weeks, and sounds like it -- and not always in a good way: the quick-and-dirty recording process and limited palette of grainy synths, vocoders, and guitars do lend a stripped-down, spontaneous feel, but just as often, this minimal approach feels like it's supporting minimal ideas. Most of Human After All's tracks concentrate on one or two heavily repeated motifs, giving some of the tracks the feeling of demos copied and pasted to a full song length (even more uncharitably, you could say that they sound like parts of a Daft Punk beats-and-loops construction kit). "Steam Machine," for example, starts off strong with a low-slung, low-rent drum machine beat and aptly hissy whispering, but fails to do much over the course of five minutes. Repetition and simplicity, or at least a certain kind of innocence, have been at the heart of Daft Punk's music since the beginning, but this formula doesn't always work on Human After All; this is particularly true on the album's softer songs, "Make Love" and "Emotion," both of which are pretty and evocative, but never quite pack the emotional punch that they threaten to. And though Human After All's linear quality is superficially like the duo's more danceable work, many of the tracks are too slow to ignite the dancefloor (however, "Television Rules the Nation"'s robotic, "Smoke on the Water" meets "Iron Man" guitar riff nails the cleverly stupid vibe that doesn't always connect on the rest of the album). All of this makes the album something of an odd beast, and the baffled reactions of some fans -- some of whom suggested that Human After All was a fake album by the band made to foil digital piracy when it leaked several months before its official release date -- is understandable. Daft Punk aren't responsible for their listeners' expectations, but they release music so rarely that this low-res album with just ten songs (or nine, if you don't count the 19-second channel-surfing blip that is "On/Off") does, initially, feel like a disappointment. However, Human After All's best tracks do make the duo's somewhat confounding aesthetic choices work: "The Brainwasher"'s trippy opening and mischievous riffs have a real sense of tension and momentum; "Robot Rock" takes Discovery's guitar worship even further, forging it into cybernetic metal; and the irresistible "Technologic," with its catchy technobabble and cheap-and-cheerful disco beat, feels like the next evolution of tracks like "Teachers" and "Harder, Faster, Better, Stronger." Since the album is on a smaller scale than Daft Punk's previous albums, it's not surprising that its pleasures are smaller too. The way that the synth, guitar, and vocoder lines blur into mecha-orga unity on the oddly bittersweet title track, and the way that the schaffel beat on "Prime Time of Your Life" gradually overtakes the song, eventually speeding up and devouring it, may not change the way listeners think about music the way that Discovery or Homework did, but that doesn't make them any less enjoyable. Human After All ends up being just not-bad (a first for Daft Punk); that may be hard to accept for fans that demand nothing less than brilliance from them, but just because it isn't an instant classic doesn't mean that it's totally unworthy, either. ~ Heather Phares

Dance - Released January 21, 2005 | Parlophone France

Alive 1997 reveals the French duo Daft Punk as one of the brightest entertainers in the occasionally stale world of album-based electronic dance. True, techno and house DJs can light up a crowd like few others, but the increasing artist slant of electronica often results in push-button programming and straight-from-DAT live performances, with most of the heavy lifting relegated to the lighting supervisor and effects computers. This brief glimpse at Daft Punk's live show circa 1997 (their major breakout year) is a tour de force of high-energy theatrics and flair. Aside from the pair of "WDPK" interludes, Alive 1997 includes only three tracks, but they're so radically different from their album versions that they're only barely familiar. The duo's biggest hit so far, "Da Funk," is stretched out to 16 minutes with a start-and-stop improvisation section that brings the crowd to a peak, while "Rollin' & Scratchin'" never looks back after breaking right on through the red-line. An energizing document, Alive 1997 is one of the few live records to approximate the excitement of the original live show. ~ John Bush

Dance - Released December 1, 2003 | Parlophone France

Daft Punk's version of a remix album is far better than most of its ilk, but far worse than either of their previous production albums or their live record. But first off, agreeing to remix Daft Punk counts as an act of high hubris for most producers; the duo is responsible for some of the most innovative productions ("Musique," "Revolution 909," "Aerodynamic") and remixes ("Mothership Reconnection," "Disco Cubism," "Chord Memory") of recent years. But fresh blood is always intriguing, and the acts hired out to post-produce for 2001's Discovery LP were widely varied and highly talented. Unfortunately, few of the big names tapped turn in tracks equal to their name. Although Basement Jaxx's version of "Phoenix" (the only track originally taken from Daft Punk's debut album) is a mostly successful translation of DP-style robot disco into Basement Jaxx's vision of sensual house, the Neptunes' remix of "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" is an unintentionally nerdy lounge tune, Detroit trio Slum Village's sampling (literally) of "Aerodynamic" becomes a hip-hop album track, and Romanthony's unplugged version of his own feature "One More Time" neatly destroys the magic of the original. Filling in the gaps nicely, however, are lesser-known French upstarts like Jess & Crabbe and Cosmo Vitelli as well as mainstream house mastermind Boris Dlugosch, whose "Digital Love" wisely changes very little of the original. ~ John Bush

Dance - Released June 22, 2012 | Parlophone France

Dance - Released June 13, 2005 | Parlophone France

Dance - Released June 13, 2005 | Parlophone France

Dance - Released April 22, 2005 | Parlophone France