The impossible has happened, my favorite robotic couple has split up indefinitely.
Warning: This review is definitely not too musically deep or anything, but it's a humble attempt at capturing the emotion behind their split-up. Do feel free to criticize my points and analogies if you'd like to. It was my fight or flight response to the end of their iconic brand of music to make a review, not garner clout from this moment of despair.
Minimalist club penchants for the soul. There's something the entirety of the community can collectively agree on, and that's enjoying Daft Punk. Unproblematic, mysterious, and progressive, the shadow act has changed the face of dance music forever, and are the sole reason as to why it hasn't gone to complete shambles during its mainstream arc in the 21st century.
As you've probably seen I've had this album at a 97, right above RAM for a long time now. And since my account's inception, I've always been keen to get to review this thing one day. However, I was always skeptical of being able to deliver justice to this album and 22, A Million as my journeys with them weren't as expansive into the past as I'd love it to be, however, I feel like this sorrowful occasion is about fitting for me to get that review I'd been longing to write out, once and for all.
I mean what could've been hypothetically worse than the news that my french heroes would never put out another track again? Their demise?. Hard to swallow, and that's been the case for a day or two as of now. I can't put into words how goddamn cryptic and distressing the footage from Electroma was, in coupling with Touch, one of my favorite songs of all time. The epilogue was an ideal closer, but also a bittersweet show of class and sorrow. I'm curious as to what brought their journey to a close, but it's all smiles if they're alive and well. Getting back on track to the very home of "Veridisco", and the root for thousands of artists and their work, ladies, gentleman, and all my other friends, I present you to the big daddy of all synthpop albums, Discovery.
Unlike the typical brand of music I relish in listening to, Discovery is a cohesively minimalist approach to dance music, abandoning the well-established acid-house troupes of their debut effort, Homework. Unlike contrary belief, I do believe this album's quality stays afloat and uniform across the whole ride, and is one hell of an ecstacy trip in comparision to the more subdued soundtracks and Random Access Memories. However, the tags "minimalist" and "electronic" don't throw this album into the area of ambient, but it draws the perfect fine line and mezzanine bridging the worlds of outright lively and dance-able, but also surprisingly, a whole vibe to stretch your legs to. While not all the progressions on Discovery are impeccable, and some can fall flat on their face, the beauty of it lies in the eyes of the beholder, and you can't expect cutting-edge avant-garde experimentalism from this project on the first-go, instead, you get the smoothest and most-balanced set of electronic music I've heard in the little time I have been exploring music for. Discovery set the stone for vocoder and autotuning in the electronic sphere of music following it's release, and despite the lukewarm critical reception, over the years it has formed into a fan favorite, and in most books it is their finest piece of music in a recently concluded career spanning 28 years. Sure, it doesn't have the "cult-classic" status of it's predecessor, however, it has quickly morphed into the tour de force of the Daft Punk catalogue. If any Daft Punk album is to be touted as a summative experience, the only two that come to my mind are Discovery, and on a fine day, Alive 2007, which is a souped-up live variant of Discovery, Homework, and Human After All, the latter of which has seen better days but is still overhated.
In 2001, Daft Punk were on a roll. The robot cosplay clad french house heroes and garnered extremely positive feedback for their first tape, and had every opportunity to follow it up with panache. The need of the hour wasn't to switch up their sound completely this early in their career, but ultimately, that decision led to the formation of what Daft Punk is today. The radio singles from 'Discovery' might as well be among their finest songs to date, even though about three of their objective masterpieces in my perception are on 2013's Random Access Memories. The think-tank of ideas behind Discovery is by no-means shallow, but it is peculiar to note a lot of it is played safe to the album's core concepts, and this is a good measure towards cohesiveness. What this translates to in layman's terms, is that the album sticks to it's iron-solid core like a solenoid coil for the most part, and this is what assures it's success in a way. The album transitions surprisingly well for an electronic album, and the experimentalism is centric to very few tracks on here. There's a good dose of repetition here, but when you repeat the finest sounds known to man, it doesn't sound all to bad. In fact, the repetition can end up psychedelic, most evident on the star of the show; Veridis Quo, an interestingly titled semi-anagram of the album's title, but also the album's flag of pride to bear. The energy behind these tracks are electric, but that's what robots have flowing through their veins
Factor one that makes Discovery a masterpiece: Futurism and ideas that remain viable to date.
The highly pitch-shifted and vocoded vocal palettes here were quite the risk for their time, this wasn't amidst an era of hyperpop being prominent, or auto-crooned trap being a staple. This was a different landscape in the electronic music field, and a way more promising and fertile period for them in comparision to the state of it today. Today, we have a bunch of Bandcamp ambient producers and generic house and pseudo-pop headliners making the same old music, but in those days, the scope to not stand out was impossible, and how Daft Punk managed to make it out of the clubs of france and on to the Grammy stages is a tale to behold. The robotic suit clad and almost inseperable (proved wrong today) duo of Guy and Thomas and their ever-fresh sense of dapper in their helmets were mysterious, yet the music sounded mainstream-friendly, especially during this era. One may wonder how Daft Punk remain one of the finest yet "internationally renowned in pop culture" esque artists around, but the answer lies in nowhere but their music. On paper, their music felt enticing and interesting to anyone, robot men, from france, making groovy and nostalgic tunes designed to be plug and play at parties yet shameless to bump for an RYM chad with 20000 ratings. The progressiveness of their music was seemingly undeniable, they made statements, one in particular being their pro-LGBTQ agenda in a quiet manner. It's something to witness, yet Daft Punk were surprisingly forward-thinking amongst an ever dying troupe of pop music, and their ideas are notable to date. The synths still sound fresh and sound like they were engineered to last a millenium, and they sound fitting to be thrown into voyager spaceships with the reassurance that they will never grow old. Be it the album's sleepier cuts, or the singles that spread like wildfire across the globe, Discovery was quite the phenomenon. It's influence is both negative and positive, and I don't even have to speak about it's positive influence on the wild world of music. You could probably brainstorm names of a couple of their influencees, who knowingly or seemingly were inspired by Daft Punk's vision. Be it some of my favorites like Kanye West, The Weeknd and LCD Soundsystem, or scores of other famous and underground musicians, the influence persists, and is undeniable to even those who call their music "paltry" or "one-dimesional.
Like man, say what you want about this LP, but you cannot vehemently disagree that it is foot-tapping material, and can make you break a leg in a jiffy. I busted moves out to this on my car porch at 1am last night, and I hope my neighbours took that in their stride because you know society, they'd say I'm drunk for grooving out in public-view. But Daft Punk's music enables me with the confidence to do-so, and they will be throughly missed in the near future. We were just about longing for another release, or atleast a second movie soundtrack by them as of late, but it's tragic to note we likely will never recieve that blessing in music form again. Here's to the metal titans of france, the heroes of modern dance music, and it pains my heart to see "Daft Punk was a electronic duo" on Wikipedia today. I woke up hoping the whole thing would be a hoax or a marketing gimmick, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Raise your cups, for a toast to these kings and a wholehearted salute to their contributions to my musical journey and music in itself. Forever imprinted in my heart, here's to discovery, and Discovery, one of my favorite projects of all time.
Oh to be a young music enthusiast in the blessed year of 2001. What an epoch to many new musical ideas, and a year of highlights. Bjork's finest work to date. The Akira soundtrack, The Strokes' much-anticipated debut effort that sent ripples in the indie sphere for years to come, the official cleared release of the finest sound-collage to date, Since I Left You, Radiohead's underappreciated Amnesiac, my favorite Autechere project, an Aphex Twin project that even had a sample that found it's way to Kanye West (Just like this album with Stronger), Muse's best album, Born Into Trouble as Sparks fly upward, an album I actually sampled on "Sus", various of non-descript yet powerful and groundbreaking IDM, a Jan Jelliak album I also sampled for my "meme-music", Gorillaz's self-titled, Nas' decent Stillmatic, and maybe even the second worst Weezer album that I sort of digged long ago. Finally, to add to all of this, we have Discovery, quite possibly one of the finest from that year, and an album that also caused waves and plates to shift across the musical world. A diverse set of sounds that seemed simple, but was the result of two creative minds, and coupled to an animated movie piece that was only further bolstered by the presence of this wonderful LP and it's sound design. One More Time, the famed intro to the world of Discovery, has slowly turned into a ghost town, as Daft Punk has left us alone to weep, and Romanthony, the vocalist, passed in 2013. Yet, on the flip-side, there are so much positive qualities to this thing, like man. Every single listen reassures me with an undeniable source of entertainment. The fine guitars on Digital Love, a massive highlight, the slowly building production of "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" coupled with one of the most ubiquitious and iconic vocal samples of all time, also serves as one of the most definitive uses of a vocoder in musical history.
Further more, the pin-point sample use on Face To Face, Veridis Quo's synths being the smoothest thing I've heard in my life, Superheroes being a molotov cocktail, Voyager's pluck-y leads, Too Long's slow yet steady build up, and every other fucking song on here I cannot recall, man, this thing is a trip. Sure, it's repetitive, and there's a chain of other discrepencies you can cite about this thing, but whatever be said, you cannot lie to my face that it was unenjoyable. It's fine, far from overblown, luxurious yet devoid of maximalism, and rich sound-wise. It's influential, fun, yet timeless to dance to, and it's something even the most small-minded music listeners can revel in. Not to mention, a fair share of other yet seemingly unrelated plus points like replayability, and a bridge between 80s nostalgia and what will come in the future. I feel inspired to write more about it, and I feel inspired to build on their legacy by being yet another artist influenced by their sound, unfortunately I cannot deliver musical justice to their masterclass so I'll do it in the way I can through the medium of this review. No deep lyrics, no disparity, no bullshit, just 100 percent pure uncut grooves for the party.
Best tracks on here? Man that's a hard stretch to make. But I'd say: Aerodynamic, Digital Love, HBFS, Crescendolls, Voyager, Veridis Quo and Superheroes.
Worst tracks on here?
NO SHUT UP
SIKE YOU THOUGHT
NO BAD SONGS
100 PERCENT FUN