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SEB WHEELER: 'RANDOM ACCESS MEMORIES' REVIEW

30 April 2013
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SEB WHEELER: 'RANDOM ACCESS MEMORIES' REVIEW

Seb Wheeler (Deputy Digital Editor) on Daft Punk's 'Random Access Memories'

01
Give Life Back To Music feat Nile Rodgers and Paul Jackson Jr

A big, rockin’ intro gives way to that classic, laidback, sunsplashed 70s sound that Daft Punk have fallen in love with and which underpins ‘Random Access Memories’. Rodgers and Jackson whip up a breezy Californian vibe that makes you feel like you’re at the wheel of a convertible, speeding down an open highway beneath a vast blue sky…

2
The Game Of Love

The Robots have revealed that the title of the album refers to “The random way that memories are stored” and so it is with tracks on the LP, which zap through the vaults of pop music in no trained order. Here they land on velvety, midnight funk that has a certain B-movie quality about it. In fact, you kind of get the feeling that the album will unfurl like an entertaining, if slightly bizarre, big screen flick. 

03
Giorgio By Moroder feat Giorgio Moroder
 
Moroder’s voice appears out of nowhere, explaining how he came to make music on a Moog synthesizer. “I knew it would be the sound of the future,” he says, “but I didn’t know how much impact it would have.” A beat drops and we’re locked in to a pulsating motorik groove that builds to crescendo about three times over. It’s epic and, by around the seven minute mark, faintly ridiculous, inciting one of many LOL moments during the album. 

04
Within feat Chilly Gonzales 

The next twist is Chilly Gonzales’ gorgeous piano playing, which is paired with the robots’ trademark vocoder tone for a weepy digital love song. Short and, errr, sad. 

05 
Instant Crush feat Julian Casablancas

This is the bit where our heroes’ memory bank belches up the grizzled remains of early noughties indie, complete with ruff, hungover guitars and New York protagonist Julian Casablancas. He’s on good form but Daft Punk seem to be keen to create a wimpy soundtrack for a Converse TV advert. Weak. 

06 
Lose Yourself To Dance feat Nile Rodgers and Pharrell 

Will there be a better collaboration than Daft Punk and Nile Rodgers this year? Probably not. Rodgers’ guitar playing is wonderfully light and imaginative, the robots happy to let him lead the way. With Pharrell’s sugar-sweet voice added, you can imagine this played at sunset at a festival like Glastonbury, serotonin gushing out of thousands of people and into the glowing evening sky. Anthem. 

07 
Touch feat Paul Williams

This is a surreal trip that channels the cartoon theatrics of Fantasia, the sound of a swing band on a Caribbean cruise ship, gospel choirs, pastoral psychedelia and a Beatles-esque chorus that goes “If love is the answer, hold on”. An incredible arrangement, like scanning radio airwaves while flying on acid. 

08
Get Lucky feat Nile Rodgers and Pharrell 

You’ve all heard this and you all know that this is the song of summer 2013. “We’re up all night to get lucky” will be sung at festivals, raves and afterparties the world over, the epitome of 21st century pop and an anthem that will bring a new generation of party people together. 

09
Beyond feat Paul Williams

Daft Punk’s 'Tron' soundtrack goes country. Paul Williams is on poetic form, singing “close your eyes and rise, lighter still, endless drift to the land of love”. You could imagine this being played at Kavinsky’s funeral. 

10
Motherboard 

A jazz jam that sounds a bit like Seb Rochford’s Polar Bear, an intriguing tune that expands and contracts and eventually folds in on itself. 

11
Fragments Of Time feat Todd Edwards

Those expecting a ‘Face To Face’-style banger will be very disappointed. Those with a more open mind will also be disappointed. There’s none of Todd’s trademark production style here, just a drab country pop song in which his vocal part sounds incredible bland. 100 per cent let down. 

12
Doin’ It Right feat Panda Bear

Panda Bear brings the most modern touch to the party, putting together a low-slung house jam built from a tremendous 808 rhythm that flits between full and half time. Stark, ice cold and pretty damn heavy, ‘Doin’ It Right’ is laced with more hedonistic poetry as a soaring vocal sings “if you lose your mind tonight, then you know the magic’s right”. Probably my favourite tune on here after the epicness that is ‘Touch’. 

13
Contact feat DJ Falcon

A space rocket ride into total oblivion, ‘Contact’ features classic French electro riffage that’s heavy enough to give Motorhead a run for their money. Proper foot-on-the-monitor stuff, this goes into absolute override with interstellar organs and even some madcap Herbie Hancock-style funkateering. What a way to end. 

Read Nick Stevenson's full track-by-track review here
Read Phil Dudman's full track-by-track review here
Read Jeremy Abbott's full track-by-track review here

TAGS: DAFT PUNK / RANDOM ACCESS MEMORIES / REVIEW

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