Daft Punk: Robotic, but retro

Daft Punk. (Danny Moloshok, Reuters)

Daft Punk. (Danny Moloshok, Reuters)

The release of their first single, Get Lucky earlier this year, which features Pharrell Williams of The Neptunes fame, sent anticipating fans into overdrive by giving them a taste of the futuristic funk they have been longing for.

With drummed up disco beats and a chorus so hot you could almost feel the sweat dripping to the floor, the single certainly helped whet the appetites of the French house duo’s fans. But what about the rest of the album?

The 13-track album’s release comes at a time in music where electronic sounds and computer-generated tapestries have reached mainstream commercial status, so you might expect the pioneering, cyborg-looking duo with their C-3PO-like headgear to revolutionise things by offering up something spectacular.

But while collaborations on Random Access Memories (with the likes of Nile Rodgers, Julian Casablancas and Panda Bear) promised intrigue and innovation, they turned out to be rather dull, synthetic odes that only make for good listening if you’re willing to be fuelled with nostalgia of all the disco drama of days gone by.

Other tracks like The Game of Love harp on and on in a web of cheesy robot tones which lack the snappy hook of the Parisian duo’s single. The more up-beat dance track Lose Yourself to Dance, which is another Pharrell Williams collaboration, is infused with far too many requests that the listener “c’mon, c’mon”, which leaves the listening wishing that Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, in their spacesuit-clad bodies, would just "come on" by themselves and leave Pharrell out of it.

It’s not all bad though.
The album lets the listener revel in a realm of retro soundscapes that offer up everything from lengthy interludes laced with jazz to cyborg-inspired moments. And even though attempting to listen to the album in one sitting is bound to baffle, visiting the space station that is Random Access Memories will prove worthwhile.

Daft Punk were always going to be robotic but one thing is undeniable: this is not the Fruity-Loops experimental electronica listeners have numbed themselves with in recent times. 

Haji Mohamed Dawjee

Haji Mohamed Dawjee

Haji Mohamed Dawjee became Africa’s first social media editor in a newsroom at the Mail & Guardian, where she went on to work as deputy digital editor and a disruptor of the peace through a weekly column. A stint as the program manager for Impact Africa – a grant-disbursing fund for African digital journalists – followed. She now pursues her own writing full time by enraging readers of EWN and Women 24 with weekly and bi-monthly columns respectively. She also contributes to the Sunday Times and a range of other publications. Mohamed Dawjee's inaugural book of essays: Sorry, not sorry: Experiences of a brown woman in a white South Africa, is due for release by Penguin Random House in April 2018.Follow her on Twitter: @sage_of_absurd Read more from Haji Mohamed Dawjee

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