Electronic duo, “Daft Punk” announce break up

Mikey McGuire, Online Editor

After 28 years in the game, the legendary French electronic duo “Daft Punk” has called it quits. On Feb. 22, the musical duo Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo posted a clip from their 2007 film “Electroma” featuring a scene where the silver robot self-destructs with audio from the track “Touch” off of “Random Access Memories.” At the end of the clip the band revealed that they were parting ways after almost three decades in the game.


While their discography might not have been the best, what they released was incredibly consistent and always quality.


Started in 1993, high school friends Bangalter and Homem-Christo, got their start in the French house music scene in the early days of electronic drum machines and synthesizers. After releasing their first record “Homework” in 1999 to critical success, they debuted their now-iconic robot personalities by wearing the gold and silver helmets and gloves while they made their infrequent public appearances.


Since their early days in the scene, Daft Punk has valued their privacy. Inspired by the 1974 film, “Phantom of the Paradise” the duo started wearing masks on stage after their first tour supporting “Homework.”  The masks started as a way to keep their anonymity as they grew in popularity, as well as separating the person from the music. After using different masks every preformance, the duo decided it was time for a more permanent solution, so they created their now-iconic robotic masks and built their robotic personas.


Following “Homework”, Daft Punk got back in the studio and released their sophomore album “Discovery” in 2001 to critical acclaim. Melding classic dance floor instrumentals with innovative production techniques and sampling, the Frenchmen brought the sounds of French house music to the forefront of electronic music.


“Discovery” was also accompanied by an animated album-length music video/movie, ‘Interstella 5555.” Telling the story of an alien pop group kidnapped and brought to Earth, where they are changed to look like humans and mid controlled by the music industry, this anime-inspired film is a wonderful companion to the album and the visuals help re-contextualize the album with a new story.


To support their next, less critically acclaimed record “Human After All”, the Parisian duo went on their “Alive 2007” tour and recorded their second live album “Alive 2007.” This tour took the Frenchmen to the heights of the festival scene, with highlights including their legendary Coachella ‘06 set and excellent  Lollapalooza 2008 performance. Both featured their signature light pyramid stage set and massively elaborate light and LED shows.


This live record is arguably one of the best live records of all time. A perfect meld of party and dance floor atmosphere, alongside crisp and fun to listen to mashups of some of their most iconic tracks, “Alive 2007” plays like the greatest hits album.


Around the same time, Daft Punk released their next feature film “Electroma.” Unlike their last film, “Electroma” did not feature any music from the band. Telling the story of two robots and their quest to become human, “Electorma” did not garner too much critical acclaim but has gained a small cult following over time.


Over the next six  years, the duo would take a break from mainline releases and focus on production work for other artists like Kanye West on his hit “Stronger.” They also did their first film score for the 2011 “Tron” reboot of “Tron Legacy.” While this film score isn’t their best record by any means, their electronic roots mixed with a full orchestra fits the vibe of the film perfectly.


In 2013, the duo hit the studio and began work on their next record, “Random Access Memories.” Breaking away from Daft Punk’s usual house sound, this new record takes heavy inspiration from the sounds of the 70s and 80s disco scene. With collaborators who helped create the disco scene like Nile Rodgers and Giorgio Moroder, the duo created a full and authentic sound throughout the record.


“Random Access Memories” landed to mass critical acclaim, earning a perfect score from NME and four stars from Rolling Stone. The record also earned the duo five  Grammys including the biggest two awards of the night, Record of the Year for “Get Lucky” and Album of the Year.


Instead of touring with the record, Daft Punk decided to return to the shadows. They got back in the studio with past collaborator Kanye West for a couple of tracks on his 2013 album “Yeezus.” They also worked with The Weeknd on his 2016 project “Starboy” along with being featured on the title track.


While the intentions for the breakup are unclear, their influence in the world of music and specifically electronic music, has been felt throughout the industry. They brought the previously underground sounds of house and electronic music to the masses and inspired countless artists across all genres.