Juan Ignacio Pazmiño
1. Give Life Back to Music
2. The Game of Love
3. Giorgio by Moroder
5. Instant Crush
6. Lose Yourself to Dance
8. Get Lucky
11. Fragments of Time
12. Doin’ it Right
After eight years without musical production, the French duo Daft Punk released their stadium-shaking album this past 17th of May. Random Access Memories is a real masterpiece of contemporary music. Filled with unusual musicality, rhythmic urgency and compelling melodies, this innovating musical production is one of the best albums of the year.
The sheer number of collaborations on Random Access Memories, including Panda Bear (Animal Collective), Julian Casablancas (The Strokes), Paul Jackson Jr., Todd Edwards, DJ Falcon, Chilly Gonzales, Giorgio Moroder, Nile Rodgers, Paul Williams, and Pharrell Williams, contribute to the band’s ideology of the diminishing boundary between computers and people. Thomas Bangalter, lead musician from Daft Punk, reported that the group is “Drawing a parallel between the brain and the hard drive – the random way the memories are stored.” With Random Access Memories, the group has achieved the juxtaposition of music from the past with music from the future, by recording live instrumentation instead of overusing of electronic instruments to capture their sounds. The group diversified its music, creating a record that stands out for its unity and smooth listening, in which they explore music from the past through some of the boldest collaborative achievements in recent history.
The cooperation of both contemporary and former musicians, inspired Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo to make an album that displays contemporary music based on the 70’s disco music and the 80’s funk music.
“Give Life Back to Music”, opens the album with Nile Rodgers and Paul Jackson Jr. playing an exceptional funky guitar fusion, while Daft Punk performs the lyrics under vocoders, which serve to give a heads up that the album won’t be an EDM (Electric Dance Music) record. The following track, “The Game of Love” also features the vocoder singing by the duo, where the group’s intention is to produce robotic voices with expressiveness and emotion. “Giorgio by Moroder” begins then with a narrative monologue on the life of Giorgio Moroder, an iconic songwriter, composer and producer from Italy, expressing a metaphor about musical freedom. Three tracks into the album this song becomes a roadblock that should have been positioned at the end or at the start of the album. “Within” then serves to mark a transition for subsequent tracks, featuring Chilly Gonzales on the piano with almost no accompaniment, creating a beautiful lullaby that talks about not understanding the world. The transition is noticed when Julian Casablancas, The Strokes front man, plays an outstanding role on “Instant Crush”. Casablancas sings a fascinating set of lyrics, where new techniques of vocoding shapes his voice into an artificial lifeform singing about human emotions. “Lose Yourself to Dance” features star collaborator, Pharrel Williams, as he introduces his funkiness with live drummers performing dance music. “Touch” is considered the core of the album; the complexity of this song, with a variety of styles and genres becomes a center where the rest of the tracks revolve around it. Then N.E.R.D. frontman, Pharrel Williams, appears once again to collaborate with the record braking “Get Lucky”. The song captivates with its complex instrumentation and William’s lyrics not only referring to a sexual act, but to the potential fortune of finding chemistry with someone else, creating a perfect climax for the album. The record then begins another transition with the next track, “Beyond”. The track begins with an orchestral string section, which later settles into a rhythmic masterpiece, accompanied by a funky guitar piece. The lyrics featuring Paul Williams express “the existential world beyond oceans and mountains- a land beyond love.” A futuristic composition, “Motherboard”, follows up and it is a purely instrumental piece able to carry you away. “Fragments of Time”, featuring Todd Edwards, captures the moments he experienced when he visited the duo’s studio session in California. The last song recorded was “Doin’it Right” and it features vocals performed by Panda Bear. It is the only purely electronic piece of the album, capturing a modern style. The closing track, “Contact”, was produced by DJ Falcon, and the track is composed of orchestral and synthesizer riffs. The song is about the last man to leave the moon on the last of the Apollo mission, a great way to end the album.
Random Access Memories proves that Daft Punk are still great innovators in the world of music. Their unconventional sound choices and compositions create new feelings in listeners. The use of live drums, strings, and even air instruments, magically fit into a great composition. Daft Punk has finally achieved their music from the future.