Daft Punk: Is going back the way forward?

Daft Punk’s new album has got a a lot of people all a-quiver. The hype has been, well quite frankly annoying, due to the sheer scale of people tweeting/facebook posting.

One of the talking points has been its effect on the future direction of the mainstream genre of EDM. Will it cause people to return to house’s roots of disco, soul or funk?

For the last few years, commercial dance music has appeared to be a preset driven, laptop orientated template-fest, where similar sounds dominate. The major labels have employed producers to give their artists a house “edge”, and as I’ve previously written, when that happens, cash drives out the “soul” of music. Its homogenised, safe, and for the house lover, a snore-inducing experience.

So when the house music community saw that Daft Punk where returning to the party, everyone got quite excited. Then it was announced they were working with Nile Rodgers of Chic fame. Could DISCO be back? Will they move the dance music community back towards live sounds?

Err. I don’t think so. Reading the album notes to their new album, the sheer scale of the live element is incredibly impressive. Orchestras, session musicians (some of the best in the world!). This all adds up to one thing. A boatload of cash.

The last EDM push was based on what anyone could make on their laptops. (What I like to call the “Ooh I’ve got Ableton, I’m a producer” factor). What Daft Punk have done, is take the bit they like from that, looked at what worked for them and what didn’t, and decided that actually, the original ways are the best sounding for them. There was talk of experimentation with various ages of microphones for the best sound. Lets be honest, not everyone can afford those.

So what exactly am I getting at? Will the return of Daft Punk have the same effect as their initial impact? Probably not. But at least it might make some pull their fingers out of their backside and delete their templates.

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One response to “Daft Punk: Is going back the way forward?

  1. I think there’s a lot of hype about using amazing equipment and what not, but having the cleanest or best equipment doesn’t always mean your production is going to be amazing. Look at the kids that made the track Vans (The Pack), it’s simplistic as hell but people loved it.

    In the end, I think it’s about creativity and creating a cool sound – that sound may come from a $20 synth or a $2000 synth, but regardless of where it came from, if it sounds cool, people will like it. Just because you have tons of money at your fingertips,, a live orchestra doesn’t mean your production is going to sound amazing, and the same goes if you’re using a real piano vs. a synth piano – it just depends on the feel you’re trying to create for your production. It’s kinda like DJing… it’s all about song selection. The people on the dancefloor don’t care if you’re playing off a laptop, turntables, CDJs, or cassette decks – if you have good song selection, you’ll rock the crowd – if you don’t, you’ll be playing to an empty dance floor.

    As for the labels and what-not picking up on the “house sound”, that’s cool. Mainstream artists/labels are going to pick up on the latest trend that’s going give them that edge and help differentiate them from other artists, and they hope it’s a gamble in the right direction… it’s just like they did when drum and bass gained popularity. It doesn’t change the scene, it just highlights that particular genre for a while until mainstream moves on to the next trend. The interesting part here is that Daft Punk is the mainstream, so they just wanted to create a different sound to differentiate from their past albums – will it drive mainstream to the next sound, who knows, but that’s cool they wanted to try something new… and it probably still would have been cool if they didn’t.

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