Random Access Memories
Considering the current state of the inescapable EDM world, Daft Punk’s ninth release, Random Access Memories, comes from absolute left field. Eight years in the making and recorded almost free of samples or continuous loops (instead with a seemingly discordant mash of guest stars including Pharrell, Julian Casablancas, Panda Bear and Paul Williams), the album maintains the difficult but desirable state of being a record that’s hard to grasp immediately. One listen through and it will confuse and underwhelm, but giving up on Random Access Memories too soon would be like leaving the Sistine Chapel after a 30-second tour. It institutes the feeling that you’re missing a masterpiece. A fusion of ’70s funk disco, ’80s electro pop and subtle undertone of trap, the album floats in a realm free of time. Don’t think of it as revisiting the past, but rather a culmination of musical aspects that have brought us to the now.
With hip-swayers like “Lose Yourself to Dance” and the crescendoing, head-bumping “Giorgio By Moroder” (sans the two minute long, inspiring yet dragging intro), Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo prove to be masters of melody and upbeat dance music. And when it comes to slowing it down, they artfully address disconnect in the lonesome “Within”, building to the maximalist crux of the album, “Touch”, which begs in a rapacious desire for more while promising hope with a growing choir impelling you to “hold on”. Where funky guitar riffs and vocoder-ridden tracks earn them the title of “retro-futurists”, epic orchestral builds, symphonic movie-score intros (“Beyond”) and guest spots from across the board allow Daft Punk to defy time periods. If together, the French duo set the EDM movement into motion with a few releases more than two decades ago, then Random Access Memories will undoubtedly change the genre’s landscape as we know it. Just give it a couple years.
Listen: “Give Life Back To Music”, “Instant Crush”, “Lose Yourself To Dance” || Watch: “Get Lucky”