Daft Punk has recently come back to relevance with the song “Get Lucky” becoming one of the mostly popular songs of 2013 earning several Platinum Awards as well as millions in terms of sales and ending high in year end charts in many countries including second in the UK.
However the album I am going to be talking about is not the album that “Get Lucky” was released upon, which was Random Accessed Memories. Instead I am going to focusing more so on the album ‘Discovery’ (2001).
This album is arguably Daft Punk most famous and what made them their reputation, as it was this album that they were able to improve from their first major album. ‘Homework’ (1997) had been able to lay out their groundwork of the style of music. However it was with Discovery and the subsequent animated movie Interstellar 5555. (2003), created by Toei Animation – a hugely influential animation studio in its own right – along with the supervisor of the famous anime director Leiji Matsumoto who created the legendary anime ‘Space Pirate Captain Harlock’. (1977–1979). Almost as of if the universe aligned that it took Discovery a relative good house album and catapulted to the point of greatness that allows me to write about today with joy and nostalgic memories.
The reason I am writing about this album and not say ‘Human After All’ (2005) or any of their ther albums is that Human After All feels more in the Daft Punk tradition of experimenting with new sounds and ideas but it fails (aside a few major tracks such as a Robot Rock) to capture the feeling of late 90’s/00’s house and achieved what Discovery had done. Whereas Human After All tried to be ‘edgy’ and rough as it can be shown with their music videos, Discovery knew what it was best. A time capsule that following generations can point out and say ‘that was that era of music for that genre was about.’
How this changed my life is due in part to how it was able to do this to a little mini me at say aged 8., who when first seeing this story using footage from the Interstellar 5555 movie saw they were able to create a story that did not involve any speech, limited sound effects and was largely built to time perfectly with a the music. Its often been said if you want to see how much effort a animated feature has taken to be created look towards how it treats motion. If you look back at the footage of Interstellar 5555 you can see the attention to detail that very few music videos let alone animated features is able to do. The best case study for this is ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.’ In which that segment of the movie is perfectly synced to the feeling of change, of a new world and the machines working to the music’s every beat, every change is timed almost perfectly to the song.
Furthermore this track played a vital influence on the idea of storytelling, as I had touched on earlier with regards to the notion of movement. The movie Interstellar 555 was built ground up for this one intention ‘to be a sci-fi animated movie that can work perfectly with the Discovery Album.’ This along with the idea of what was happening to these little blue people being kidnapped across the galaxy, away from home, away from comfort, would stick to me. It was a only little under a decade later that I would find what would happen to those little blue people as well to find the rest of the album.
If there was one track I would have to say was my favourite it would most certainly be the track ‘Verdis Quo.’ Its ability to paint the scene with the use of electronic organs, going towards the villain’s lair, attempting to understand what caused the little blue people abduction. It was the use of slowing adding instruments and how it slow escalates to a grand discovery that relates back to the argument I had with regards to motion. It was the use of Mise-en-scene, camera, sound and music with the dark house contrasting with the outlandish dress sense of the main cast and the grand reveal of why they were there that has stuck to me and why I will not spoil what happens next.
In summary I believe that the album Discovery played a vital role in my ability to view different kinds of story in different kind of forms and ideas. Be it in the form of anime, cartoon, movies, video games or books it’s how they are able to create interest and personalising the character to the point you come to view the character as yourself. Lastly there is a good reason why many people joke why Tron Legacy is basically Interstellar 5555’s spiritual successor – it is due to the ability of Daft Punk to create music that is atmospheric and rich to the point where they can create a story purely through their talent and skill.