Guest post – Joey Cullen-Tinley – Daft Punk and the French renaissance
What the re-emergence of Daft Punk might mean for their Gallic peers
<It's Daft Punk day on OTR. Work experience student Joey Cullen-Tinley wonders if the Daft Punk return will mean a revival in fortunes for other French producers>
As we await the release of Daft Punk’s new album, the first release “Get Lucky” could well be the song of the summer. Daft Punk are still creating music, but to create something like this is special. It’s the perfect balance between what Daft Punk were and what pop music has become. “Get Lucky” is geared towards those in the mainstream who do not realise they’re fans of Daft Punk. But the thing is Daft Punk and their fellow Frenchmen have shaped the mainstream.
Daft Punk admirers will certainly enjoy the nu-disco sound, created with the help of Nile Rodgers. In 1998, Bangalter used a Rodgers-style guitar from Chaka Kahn’s “Fate” on Stardust’s one-off collaboration “Music Sounds Better With You”. It’s clear that Daft Punk are returning to their roots.
In the video for “Get Lucky”, we see them playing their own instruments, much like they did on the 1997 album, “Homework”. For a dance group back then, it is strange that they began playing music that contained few samples. Ironic, as Daft Punk have been slammed for years for making music which involves mainly unchanged samples, for example “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” features the exact same sound as Edwin Birdsong’s “Cola Bottle Baby”.
Ironic too that their first hit “Around The World” contains only one sample, Le Knight Club’s “Holiday on Ice”, which meant Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo sampled himself, as he was Le Knight Club along with Eric Chedeville. Such collaborations can be seen a lot throughout the last 15 years of French music, the scene almost operating like a family.
“Get Lucky” is not a record that the youth will ignore. I’m a 16 year old who is enthralled by the French house scene of the 1990s, and I’m not alone in appreciating that era. This track and the album could bring a whole new audience to getting stuck into other masters of the trade such as Cassius, Modjo, Étienne de Crécy (and his collaborations with Motorbass) and more.
Last week, Phoenix released their fifth album “Bankrupt!”. The album was produced by Philippe Zdar from Cassius, who also worked with Etienne de Crecy on Motorbass. This further shows the “tight family” clique within the French house scene.
Of course, the French haven’t been laying low for a decade – and we dont just mean the rise of Justice. Newer acts like Madeon and Carbon Airways are what actually made me delve further into French house and see that so much of pop music today is what would have been called house or techno a decade ago. The French house scene is what brought the pop side into dance music and introduced it to clubs as well.
Will this be the start of a French revolution again? Of course, a lot depends on the new Daft Punk album. One swallow doesn’t make a summer after all, as we saw with the last album. There is a lot we could expect to see in the coming months, but is that all dependant on whether or not the album hits home with the public? Plus, since the original scene faded from prominence, the clique has gone too, leaving a gap to be filled with new artists. Daft Punk rising to prominence again could be the chance for these new artists to arrive. We must wait and see.