It’s been eight years since Daft Punk’s last album, and in that time, dance music has evolved (or, devolved, depending on your perspective) to the point where it’s difficult to see where they dynamic duo fit. Or if they even fit at all.
We’re beginning to think the answer is the latter. Because on their new Random Access Memories album, Daft Punk aren’t concerned with competing with their contemporaries. Rather, they’ve become obsessed with re-creating the past, crafting an album that pays tribute to disco, funk, early electronic music, prog, psych and jazz. In a way, it seems they’re determined to revolutionize dance music — and, in a sense, save it from itself — solely by remembering its roots.
And that certainly begs the question: Will today’s EDM stars embrace Daft Punk’s new effort, or dismiss it as nothing more than dated disco? Well, when MTV News spoke to up-and-coming DJ/producer Porter Robinson at the Hangout Festival, we asked for his thoughts on the album … and though he’s certainly read the criticisms, he’s firmly in favor of the robots’ return.
“My peers and I have had this email chain where we’ve been discussing this album a lot, and I’m definitely in the ’pro’ camp. I think it’s a success on a lot of levels,” Robinson said. “I’ve heard some of the arguments against it; people say it won’t stand against real disco, that this contemporary version of it doesn’t match up to what was actually happening in the disco era. But I think, in the same way you can’t understand a song from an album, you have to understand an artist in the context of a legacy; of a career. And I think this album is a moment in a legacy, and I think that’s how it should be understood.”
Then again, Robinson was also quick to point out that, despite all its epic underpinnings, Random Access Memories is still very much a dance album; and he’s definitely come to appreciate its less-than-subtle moments, too.
“There are seven songs that I would listen to independently, that don’t rely on the album. ’Instant Crush,’ I think is my favorite song; the chorus is so awesome. Everybody loves ’Doin’ It Right,’ ’Get Lucky’ is awesome, ’Giorgio [by Moroder] is amazing,” he said. “’Pretty much every note on the album is perfect, to the point where you can take these individual tracks and they work so well on their own.”
And that sentiment was echoed by Robinson’s pal Steve Aoki, who just so happened to be wandering by as we discussed Random Access Memories. He’s read the criticisms, too, but, as a life-long Daft Punk fan, he appreciates everything their new album represents … both for the genre and the duo themselves.
“I’m totally down. Honestly, I’m a Daft Punk supporter from day one; I love anything they do,” Aoki said. “It’s evolution man. You have to adapt and create new stuff.”