Archive for March, 2008

Daft Punk Week

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For no good reason other than I’ve been listening to Daft Punk’s Alive a lot recently, I’ve decided to dedicate an entire week to the French duo. Daft Punk hit their peak in the late ‘90s around the same time other Parisian electronic musicians and DJs were popularizing Frenchified house music. But Daft Punk has been able to maintain a modicum of staying power where most of the big beat artists of the era (Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, et al) have faded from memory.

Daft Punk rose to international prominence in 1997 with their album Homework, which featured the hit tracks “Da Funk” and “Around the World”. The 2001 release of Discovery was a departure from Homework’s more gritty sound. This new album was far more textured and dense, with nods to ‘70s American FM radio. More recent albums have been somewhat of a let down though, since Daft Punk hasn’t shown much interest in evolving their sound. Still, the duo has influenced the work of many current artists like Justice and Ratatat.

It would be a huge oversight on my part if I didn’t mention Daft Punk’s visual side. Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo always appear in costume, whether it’s a show, music video, or public appearance. Daft Punk has taken the shtick one step past KISS of yesteryear and forged an identity that shares a closer affinity to Mexican wrestling than electronic music. During the Homework era, the duo chose to blur their press photos, but by the time Discovery came out, the two had adopted a robot look consisting of dark leather jumpsuits and futuristic helmets as seen in the photo above.

Add comment March 31st, 2008

Band + Super Producer = Fantasy Album

What if, in some parallel universe, your favorite non-mega label band could work with an insanely expensive, private jet flying, super producer? What kind of album would they create? I was thinking about this last week after ruminating on unlikely recent pairings of such disparate folks as Bjork and Timbaland and came up with some unlikely pairings of my own.

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Viva Voce + Jeff Lynn

Lynn is best known for his ‘70s band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). Viva Voce is known for, well, not much really unless you’re the kind of person who squanders their workday reading Pitchfork.com. That is not meant as a slight, since they’re a fantastic band, it’s just their catchy albums have never reached a large audience audience like their friends The Shins. Lynn’s work with ELO featured copious amounts of lush strings and layered vocal tracks – and lots of vocoders, don’t forget vocoders. Viva Voce has always toyed with a big ELO style of sound, but they have always done so with modest means. What if VV and Lynn spent three weeks holed-up in a Swiss chalet writing a double albums worth of songs a la Out of the Blue? That would be so amazing. Just the thought of it makes me pee my pants a little.

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Trevor Horn + The New Pornographers

OK, bear with me on this one. I know there is not much similarity between this Canadian super group and Horn, an aging studio wizard, but have you listened to Belle & Sebastian’s The Life Pursuit? Trevor Horn did a crackling job with that album. And I realize there are probably a bunch of people out there who discount anything Bell & Sebastian does post If You’re Feeling Sinister, but jeez. I mean, come on, complain about B&S ‘selling out’ one more time and I’m jamming that copy of Tigermilk right up your…

But I digress. The New Pornographers have already made some great albums, but I think working with someone like Horn might add just a little more cohesion to their generally inspired musical collaborations. The Pornographers have already experimented with strings and such on their last album, so someone like Horn could refine that sound further. Just make sure Dan Bejar gets his own track or two like he always does. That guy is a pimp.

Other combinations:

Menomena + Hugh Padham
Jay-Z + M.I.A. + Ratatat

What is your dream combination?

3 comments March 12th, 2008


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