Despite the fact that their debut Homework came out in 1997, Random Access Memories is only the fourth album proper from French duo Daft Punk. It’s both a summation of everything they’re about, and comfortably their best album to date.
Superficially, you get the same sense that some people have when looking at a Neo-Classical building. It seems to be nothing more than a mix and match of other peoples’ greatest hits. But the more you listen to it, the more substantial it becomes. And apart from anything else, it’s absolutely sumptuous.
As the boys form Pitchfork noted in their review of it, where they gave it an 8.8, it’s a paean to the kinds of expansive, monumental albums that just don’t get made any more.
Recorded oh so expensively in analogue, gone on all but one of the tracks are the samples you normally associate with them. And in come a host of guest singers and actual instrumentalists.
Animal Collective’s Panda Bear, The Strokes’ front man Julian Casablancas, and 70’s muso Paul Williams, who scored and starred in Brian de Palma’s cult classic Phantom of the Paradise (’74), which was such a seminal influence on the pair. And, happily, most prominently of all, Nile Rodgers backed up by Pharrell Williams on vocals.
But the album’s highlight is Giorgio by Moroder, a wonderful drive thru celebratory synthesis of electronic music over its first few decades.
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