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Jeremy Abbott (Electro Editor) on Daft Punk's 'Random Access Memories'
Give Love Back To Music
The album opener is a smooth and funky journey that uses sweeping builds that roll into subtle drops which are perfect for lazing around on a summers day. Nile Rodgers' silky guitar licks guide you through whilst robot vocoders and striking chords lead you to its epic finale.
The Game Of Love
'The Game Of Love' is an 80’s slap in the face with a slow tempo and distinctively seductive vibe. It could be the backdrop to a sunset over the Miami strip and with sweet whisperings of "I just wanted to stay" at the end of the track, you won’t want it to stop either.
Giorgio By Moroder
This nine-minute synth odyssey kicks off with disco God Giorgio Moroder talking about his time growing up wanting to be a musician. After a monologue about his pipe-dreams he informs us that his "friends call him Giorgio" before the track explodes into an arpeggiated synth dream. Tropical breakdowns, huge string sections and staggered breakbeat drum fills send you into a dated future like no other.
‘Within’ eases you into the track with a stunning piano solo from Chilly Gonzales. Although this sweeping ballad is only 3.30 in length, the song soothes you from the off. "So many things I don’t understand" is the prominent lyric and Chilly’s chords combined with grazing cymbals make for a beautiful summer lullaby.
This is the first track so far that feels distinctively French with gorgeous harmonies and bold piano stings. Julian Casablancas’ vocals are treated to a subtle robot auto-tune and these are accompanied by a Strokes-esque electric guitar in the last section. It’s pop, but good pop.
Lose Yourself To Dance
Teased in Nile Rodgers’ Collaborators episode, this funk-a-thon features the Chic frontman laying down some seriously groovy strings. When you add in Pharrell’s creamy vocal barbs you’ve got yourself a feel-good hit of the summer. Big multi-layered claps and thrashing cymbals also play a big part in driving the song forward.
If 'Giorgio By Moroder' is a synth odyssey then the collaboration with Paul Williams is an all-out acid infused psychedelic adventure. The intro uses soaring wind samples and ambient space age bleeps which soon transform into a dark and trippy monster. When the vocals finally appear the uncomfortable feedback stops and the track feels reminiscent of the sun coming out after a heavy rain shower. The rest of the 8 minute marathon includes a mixture of tempos, an eruption of strings, horns and synths and even a section that incorporates a 1920’s piano solo, and no I’m not joking.
It’s the big boy. The track that was teased and drip fed to us was finally released last month. Sure to be dropped at every festival, club night and bar-mitzvah this summer, Pharrell’s smooth vocals and Nile doing his thang on lead guitar is the perfect background music for any activity in the sun. Sure fire crowd-pleaser.
A grand anthemic opening provides a huge sound before dropping into a Balearic disco chiller. The vocoder that’s graced the whole album appears again but this time against cascading synths that scream funk. Forget what you think future disco is, this is it.
This is the track that would have been in Tron Legacy if the film featured an illegal drugs rave. Reminiscent of ‘Rinzler’, the contrast between modern synths and classic string and drum sections works beautifully. Expect frantic drum fills and a cheeky flute section that carries the song all the way to the abyss.
Fragments Of Time
Is it a synth, is it a robot or is it a wailing guitar? Who cares it’s god damn funky. Todd Edwards provides vocals on this romantic 80s number. Very glitzy and certainly one for the ladies, ‘Fragments Of Time’ is a joyous ballad that sounds very Breakbot, and there’s no problem with that.
Doin’ It Right
A clear stand-out track and with a half-time opening it’s almost dubby. The android rumbling of ‘everyone will be dancing’ forewarns the listener and drives the track while Panda Bear provides some giant vocals. Light and airy synths are introduced half way through to make this a fantastic understated ballad.
Album closer ‘Contact’ is one hell of an ending to one hell of a journey. A crackled voice begins the track, it could be Neil Armstrong or someone reporting back to planet earth. That would make sense as the remainder of the song takes you through meandering synths, hectic drum fills and crashing cymbals. At times it’s rocky, at times it sounds like Tron but at 4.50 it’s a raucous comedown. Dark and gritty synths build up like Apollo 11 until a mish-mash of feedback ends the album.
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Read Jeremy Abbott's full track-by-track review here
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