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Daft Punk

Alive 2007
Virgin Records
www.daftpunk.com


If the European continent is a hotbed for club music then France must be its Mecca, or at least you'll have that impression after hearing Daft Punk's latest release Alive 2007. The record was taped live from Daft Punk's show at Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy on June 14, 2007. Their compositions are substantial complexes made from several electronica-spooled intervals pieced together and segued into segments that develop the movements like the scenes of a movie. For instance, overtures like "Superheroes" commence a chain reaction which rolls into the following movements "Human After All" and "Rock 'N' Roll." Although none of the music sounds like it can be interpreted as rock 'n' roll, the songs have a techno-ambient flare and acid-pop vibe that can be deemed as nu-disco. Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter who make up Daft Punk are digital wizards on their grand synthesizers and motherboards, similarly to the Legion Of Doom. Produced by Paul Hahn, Alive 2007 was made for people to be mesmerized by the laps of sonic feats that Christo and Bangalter can muster, as they make it into a show swarming in layers of sound movements.

The opening track "Robot Rock" which segues into the movement "Oh Yeah" takes a robotic drilling and morphs into different sonic explorations and various electronica phrasings so segments of notes are spliced, pleated, spun around, stretched, bent, and shaped into wild contortions. Daft Punk carries on in this liberating manner where their creativity is only limited by their minds. They are like people who have to say what they are thinking only the pair of Daft Punk translates their thoughts into music. They show a level of freestyle as well as an inclination to repeat segments like a drone similarly to a club's DJ. They fuse many musical elements into their electronica like urban, R&B-pop, and tribal influences which come together on the track "Face To Face/Short Circuit." Digital notes shoot out and zip up along the track "Burnin'/Too Long" as the house beats are accentuated by thematic dance-club hooks. Commercial hits for Daft Punk like "Harder Better Faster Stronger" and "One More Time/Aerodynamic" sung by Romanthony are focused on the vocal melodies while keeping the synth spurts and electronic effects spinning around in a sieve. The technique shows a skillfulness akin to producer Swizz Beatz (Madonna, Buster Rhymes, Beyonce).

Alive 2007 is filled with electronica phrases that keep the action busy. There aren't many moments when the music pauses or takes a rest. Like products being rolled out on a conveyer belt, the pair brings out one processed segment after another, changing the dynamics here and there. Daft Punk's music is attractive to specific audiences namely club goers, but there is also a world music sense that enables these songs to appeal to a larger crowd. As digitally processed as the music is, it comes alive when experienced in a live setting.

-Susan Frances


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