Daft Punk’s Electroma

[This piece has an interesting story behind it. Back in March 2015, as the rumors that JAY Z was buying the Norwegian streaming service I was working for were proving to be true, I was given a secretive assignment to write a piece about an old film by Daft Punk, which was going to be one of the first “exclusives” offered upon our relaunch. Little did I realize that the French duo were also joining as financial stakeholders, along with a dream team of other stars.

Notoriously protective of their image, I was told the band themselves would be fact-checking the copy of my article. Admittedly nervous, I was quite relieved that the band was quite pleased with the text, and their intimate manager Paul Hahn even congratulate me on writing “probably the best bio on DP I’ve read,” and even asked that I adapt the text to be used as their a​rtist biography ​in the service.]

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Daft Punk is an organism that transcends all comparisons.

Enigmatically disguised beneath their iconic robot helmets, the creative team of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter have gained worldwide fame for their irresistible, evolutionary and artistic pop that blends futuristic flavorings of acid house and techno with fresh elements of disco, funk and hip-hop.

Beginning with their seminal 1997 debut, Homework, the dynamic duo revolutionized the European house music scene they were born out of, before swiftly carving out a category all their own.

Their now-classic 2001 follow-up, Discovery, launched them into a new atmosphere of popularity, thanks to dance-floor hits like “One More Time” and “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” but the album also found the group adapting a more conceptual approach, which they would only foster as time went on.

In 2005 the band took on a more minimalistic, guitar-heavy sound with Human After All, then adapting much of the same material for their legendary live tour, recorded on Alive 2007.

After a brief period of silence, Homem-Christo and Bangalter composed the acclaimed score to Disney’s Tron: Legacy, which, in yet another new direction for Daft Punk, was recorded with a live orchestra.

With 2013′s Random Access Memories, Daft Punk made their most visionary and sonically brilliant work yet.

With 2013′s Random Access Memories, Daft Punk made their most ambitious and sonically brilliant work yet. A love letter to 1970s studio craft, the record features inspired collaborations with the likes of Pharrell Williams, Panda Bear, Julian Casablancas, Nile Rodgers, Paul Williams and Giorgio Moroder, which they scrupulously recorded with live instrumentation to aural perfection.

RAM earned Daft Punk five Grammys, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year for the instant-classic single “Get Lucky.”

In a recent conversation with TIDAL, Mark Ronson called the album, “something that they’ll be testing stereo systems with for hundreds of years to come.”

With the music world now firmly at their mercy, we’ve since been waiting for the next move from the secretive electro-pioneers.

As much as they own it, Daft Punk are far more than just musicians.

Well known for their meticulous attention for visual presentation – in artwork, live performance, and of course their emblematic costumes – their strong visual identity is an essential element to to their iconographic mystique.

Film, in particular, has been an integral component of Daft Punk, dating back to their classic classic Spike Jones­-directed video for Homework’s “Da Funk”. On top of music videos and their work with Tron, no small part of this ocular legacy is D.A.F.T.: A Story About Dogs, Androids, Firemen and Tomatoes (1999), the band’s collection of early music videos, and their two feature­length films Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem (2003) and Daft Punk’s Electroma (2006).

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We’re honored to present Daft Punk’s Electroma in its entirety, streaming exclusively in TIDAL.

Filmed during the same time as the music videos for Human After All, the early footage was first slated to be used for that album’s title track. That is until Homem-Christo and Bangalter expanded their vision to a feature-length film dealing with the same themes.

Artfully shot on 35 mm Kodak stock film, in dramatic locations across the American Southwest, Electroma is a dystopian odyssey that follows two robots on a symbolic quest to become human. Avoiding conventional Hollywood formulas, the film is characteristically nonconformist in its storytelling, which manifests in uncomfortably long scenes and a complete lack of dialogue. Unsurprising given its creators, it is visually and musically spectacular.

Daft Punk directed the film together, also writing the script alongside intimate collaborators Paul Hahn and Cédric Hervet. Cinematography is credited to Bangalter, who is said to have purchased and read over 200 back-issues of American Cinematographer before production began.

Though some uncommitted viewers were thrown off by the film’s quixotix style, Electroma has become a celebrated art film that is still popularly screened at midnight showings.

Unlike the band’s previous films, which were largely based around the music of their albums, the Electroma soundtrack doesn’t actually include a single Daft Punk song.

Instead the band curated the soundtrack with a selection that includes sonic pioneers Brian Eno, Todd Rundgren and Curtis Mayfield, classical pieces by Chopin, Haydn and Allegri, and folk outliers Linda Perhacs, Jackson C. Frank and Sebastien Tellier. Though Daft Punk repeatedly defies any comparison in their own output, the list is a fascinating peek into the musical taste of two of popular music’s most enigmatic tastemakers.

And in spite the lack of original music, the film is no less of a Daft Punk creation than any album.

As Bangalter told Mixmag in 2006, “With this film, we had the same approach as when we started making music. Create without any rules or standards. Take a free approach to something new that you don’t really know, and that you learn from scratch.”

Enjoy our unique offering of Daft Punk’s Electroma in all its sensuous splendor.

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