“Once you free your mind about a concept of harmony and music being correct, you can do whatever you want. So, nobody told me what to do, and there was no preconception of what to do.” -Giovanni Giorgio Moroder
Everything that’s old is new again — especially when it comes to music.
Daft Punk, the French duo consisting of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, cleaned up at the Grammy’s this year with four wins, including Album of the Year. If you haven’t listened to their 2013 album, Random Access Memories, you should stop reading this post, download the album, and continue reading with you’ve finished listening.
“Today, electronic music is like an audio energy drink,” Thomas Bangalter told Rolling Stone in May 2013. “Artists are overcompensating with this aggressive, energetic, hyperstimulating music – it’s like someone shaking you. But it can’t move people on an emotional level.”
It’s immediately apparent on Random Access Memories that the duo wanted to create electronic music with feeling (the first song is titled, “Give Life Back to Music”) — to do so they took inspiration from the music of the late 70s and the early 80s. You probably couldn’t escape the single “Get Lucky,” the catchy, bubbly song of last summer. While it is a good sample of the tone of the album, its not my favorite song of the collection.
Topping my favorites is, “Giorgio by Moroder,” which features synth disco pioneer Giovanni Giorgio Moroder (think Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”) talking about how he unwittingly changed the sound of pop by introducing a synthesizer into his music.
Dazed Digital described the song as “an arpeggiated Italo synth line [that] segues into a free-jazz section before climaxing with an epic drum-break befitting of Wembley Stadium.”
When Moroder did the recording, there were multiple microphones that dated from the 60s to current day. When Moroder asked why their were so many microphones, he was told that the mic they would use would depend on the decade of his life he was speaking about. Moroder recounted to Rolling Stone, “I asked the engineer, ‘Who will ever hear the difference between these microphones?’ He told me, ‘Nobody. But the boys will.'”
Moroder said of the album as a whole: “Daft Punk wanted to do something and do it in a way that’s not done by just pushing a note or a chord. You definitely hear that it’s nice and full; the drums and the bass have that warm, that full sound… This is like a step forward.”