French electronic outfit Daft Punk have announced their breakup after nearly thirty years together. The news came from an 8-minute video entitled “Epilogue” posted to their YouTube channel.
Perhaps best known for their robotic personas and classic singles such as ‘One More Time’ and ‘Get Lucky’, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter changed the landscape of modern dance music forever with their joyous and creative approach to sampling older gems and crafting entirely new ones.
The group formed in 1993 in Paris by childhood friends Homem-Christo and Bangalter after the pair started experimenting with drum machines and synthesisers. After Melody Maker critic Dave Jennings dubbed their previous band’s music “a daft punky thrash”, the two men decided to wear the detractive statement as a badge of honour. This was just how Led Zeppelin found their name, and just like the revolutionary hard rockers Daft Punk would have the same lasting influence on their respective era’s sound.
The group’s much-hyped debut album Homework released in 1997 to worldwide critical and commercial success and by February 2001, had sold over two million global copies. The hype around Homework brought worldwide attention to French house music and showed the group’s clear love of musical eclecticism. The album blends addictive 90s techno and acid house grooves with bombastic big beat and hip hop sounds from the 00s.
Although Homework was a triumph, Daft Punk’s second album Discovery thrust the androids into the worldwide mainstream and has since been regarded as one of the best albums of the 21st century. Moving on from the raw and untamed nature of their debut, Discovery saw the duo turn to the bright boogie of 70’s disco music and sultry sounds of R&B in its musical concepts. The album features some of their most beloved tracks such as ‘Something About Us’ and ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’, the latter being famously sampled by Kanye West on his number one single ‘Stronger’.
The duo returned 4 years later with Human After All which initially received mixed reviews for its minimalistic, abrasive and repetitive nature. However, after Daft Punk toured in 2007, with sets mixing songs from all three albums, critics came around to see the album in a more positive light.
After composing and performing the soundtrack to the 2010 science fiction film ‘Tron: Legacy’, the pair returned with the most ambitious project in their diverse discography, 2014’s Random Access Memories. Collaborating with some of the biggest names in music, from Giorgio Moroder and Nile Rodgers to Pharrell Williams and Julian Casablancas, Daft Punk created an exhilarating pop/dance/disco odyssey. The anthemic lead single ‘Get Lucky’ has since become one of the best-selling singles of all time and has become a testament to the duo’s supreme understanding of feel good music making.
Often hiding in the shadows behind their enigmatic masks, Daft Punk have rarely made public appearances and have always wanted their music to do the talking. With their albums consistently going platinum around the world and receiving rave reviews, it’s clear their innovative and unique take on modern dance music has made its statement and its one that will doubtless stand the test of time. Although a sad day for the music world with no hope for future releases, the sound of Daft Punk will live on, dominating dancefloors and discos for decades to come.
Words by Cameron Blackshaw.
Images: Getty Images
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