Saturday, 25 May 2013
The most telling moment on the new Daft Punk album occurs between 0.01 seconds and 1 Minute 51 seconds into the albums 3rd track – Giorgio by Moroder. The fabled producer & Scarface soundtrack composer offers the listener a brief synopsis of his life story from fledgling small town musician to Donna Summer inspiring disco god. That an album as eagerly anticipated as RAM has the gall to begin its 9 minute 3rd track with a spoken word autobiography of one of its key contributors speaks volumes about Daft Punks’ wilful and dedicated attention to detail, RAM is uncompromising, startling, baffling and utterly original in equal measure. When discovery ate the world in 2001, few could have predicted where DP would end up 12 years later, at the time they were advocates of a heady brew - incorporating dance floor anthems replete with treated 80’s instrumentation, additionally they were guilty of inspiring one of Kanye Wests’ few missteps, hiding behind helmets to focus people on the music was un necessary – the music spoke for itself. Fast forward 12 years and we find ourselves glossing over the partial misfire that was Human After All and beginning our party with Give Life Lack to Music, a thank you of sorts from DP to a branch of entertainment they helped shape and define. Nile Rogers peppers the track with effortless cool and funk, underpinning the slinkiest and most relaxed guitar licks this side of Pink Floyd. The track evoked for me that calm before the storm moment when the party prep is done & you find yourself pre the arrival of the guests – taking a well earned moment to survey your work, and as you do, a feeling of calm and ease washes over you. The game of love, within & beyond for me form a triptych of sorts, a trio of love lorn ballads with aching melodies to spare, our hero robot protagonist conjures expertly that feeling of knowing that someone quite special has come and unfortunately gone from our lives – and our short circuits will never quite be the same again. Instant Crush ushers in Julian Casablancas to the fray, the strokes man hasn’t sounded so vital in two albums, crooning a chorus I bet he secretly wishes that he could have held on to for the last strokes album, along with smash hit Get Lucky – the poppiest most accessible moment on RAM. RAM is essentially built around the afore mentioned Giorgio, Touch & Contact. Touch is easily the most oblique thing here, imagine Queens’ Flash reworked for Phantom of the Opera by Brian Wilson during his Smile period and you would be approaching the ball park, a bizarre, utterly charming track that is still revealing its secrets five listens down the road. Contact might bizarrely be the most conventional thing on RAM, an endless, frenetic weave through the impossibility of space travel, contact propels you to the edge of the world as you look in to watch the earth being decimated by rogue intruders. RAM is a bold, experimental and above all brave album, a polarizing effort that thankfully is likely to scare the holy shit out of those poor souls who have never heard of Homework & and those who only groove to DP when One More Time shuffles on to their playlist courtesy of anonymous, generic, dance mega mix 2013. Ignore and avoid these heathens like the plague, RAM rewards repeated listens, unearthing hook after melody after sound effect after beautiful lyric time and time again. In the words of Pharell – lose yourself to dance, in my words – lose yourself to Daft Punk. 9/10. Download: The album in its entirety, if you absolutely have to – Instant Crush, Giorgio by Moroder, Within and Contact. CAL.