Archive for April, 2008

Cat Synth

I’ve been good at refraining from posting photos of my cats on this blog, but not so much on other people’s blogs.

Clementine on Cat Synth

Add comment April 30th, 2008

Movie Titles



Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Smoking Aces

Thank You for Smoking

Add comment April 16th, 2008

The Legacy of Daft Punk


Daft Punk has already had already made a lasting impact on American popular culture. OK, maybe not like Elvis or even that “Don’t Tase Me, Bro!” guy, but pretty impressive for a couple of shy French kids. There was the disjointed TV commercial they did for the Gap with Juliette Lewis. And then there was the tribute song by LCD Soundsystem awhile back. More recently, Kanye West sampled the hell out of a Daft Punk track for his song “Stronger“. Just head over to YouTube to see all the random reinterpretation of Daft Punk songs. I’ll leave you with a DJ set the boys did for Louis Vuitton.

Louis Vuitton Mix

Add comment April 4th, 2008

Behind the Curtain: Daft Punk Production


Sounding like a robot can be a tricky proposition. Daft Punk uses two musical devices to achieve the effect: the vocoder and the talk box. The vocoder was originally developed for telecommunications in the 1930s by Bell Labs, the idea being to code speech for secure transmission over phone lines. But it became a popular musical device in the ‘70s gaining notoriety with bands like ELO and Pink Floyd. Most readers who are my age will remember the Cylon’s voice from the original Battlestar Galactica, which were created using vocoders.

The talk box is an entirely different beast. A talk box allows someone to modify the sound of a musical instrument, usually a guitar (think Frampton Comes Alive!). The musician controls the modification of the sound by opening and closing their mouth. Really, it’s hard to describe how this works, so you should just watch this YouTube video of some college kid showing how Daft Punk uses one for songs like “Digital Love”.

There is also a darker side to Daft Punk production. It wasn’t until a few years after the release of Discovery that word started to spread around the internet that Daft Punk didn’t really create as much of the original music on the album as they had claimed in earlier interviews. This YouTube video details the alleged theft quite well.

Add comment April 3rd, 2008

Inside Daft Punk’s Pyramid


One of the reasons Daft Punk has had maintained a level longevity not seen among their peers is the popularity of their live shows, which offer insanely cool visuals and a striking pyramid in the middle of the stage. Live performances of electronic music can be quite boring to be brutally honest — you never know if the performer is actually composing/remixing music on the fly or just checking email when they’re up on stage with a PowerBook. But Daft Punk does perform live for the most part with two Ethernet connected touch screens, four analog Moog synths, and cheapo dual MIDI controllers. I think people who don’t really know anything about how electronic music is made don’t care what those guys are doing up there in the pyramid since they’re just at the show for a fun experience. But what kills me is these guys do an entire set in leather jumpsuits and heavy robot helmets. I’m always looking for some kind of cooling tubing snaking up the side of their outfits, but I think the just power through a set and suffer the prolonged discomfort. If I could ask those Daft Punk just one question, it would be about what it’s like wearing those outfits all the time. To see the pryamid in action, go here or here.



Add comment April 3rd, 2008

Electroma: The Daft Punk Movie


For whatever reason, in 2005 Daft Punk decided to make a feature length film. Thomas Bangalter read over 200 back-issues of American Cinematographer and set off to America’s Southwest with a 1987 Ferrari 412. To try and describe the film’s plot would be pointless, since it’s pretty nonexistent. If you’re interested in the film, it can be viewed on Google video in its entirety, but with an annoying time code stamp on the top. Honestly, unless you’re a fan of Gus Van Sant’s Gerry or Vincent Gallo’s Brown Bunny, this movie probably won’t be of interest. Of note is the film’s soundtrack, which actually does not feature music by Daft Punk.

I should also mention that Electroma is not Daft Punk’s only foray into feature length films. After the release of Discovery, the duo made Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem, an animated film.
Again, I won’t try and regurgitate the plot (especially since I haven’t seen it), but this instance it apparently involves aliens instead of robots.

Electroma Website

Daft Punk’s Electroma on Google Video

Add comment April 1st, 2008


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