Published May 17, 2013On Tuesday (May 21), Daft Punk will finally release Random Access Memories, their disco-indebted fourth studio album. In order to the best capture the classic and timeless quality Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo wanted the album to have, it was recorded on analog recording equipment, using analog instruments. To do otherwise, Bangalter tells Exclaim!, might risk dating the album.
"I feel like music where the technology is in the forefront, that takes technology and an electronic aesthetic and puts it in front, is much more likely to be dated in four years," he explains. "We felt like if the Tron score had been mostly electronic, its ability to become a timeless element in a timeless story would be [jeopardized]."
So, he continues, "on this record, [we] use a lot of technology, but more in the way that you might in, say, a fantasy film. You're using special effects, but they're under the hood, so it's not overtly technological in its content. A track like 'Touch,' for example, with Paul Williams, has 250 tracks. We couldn't have done that 30 years ago; that music could not have happened. It felt like the technology here, we decided to hide it."
There's something special about analog equipment, Bangalter claims, that can't be replicated by digital equipment and is at risk of being lost in our era of instant gratification. To only make digital albums, he argues, "is the same thing as saying that now you can do a movie with a camcorder, or with a digital camera, and therefore you don't need to do an ambitious film with ambitious techniques on big film sets, because it's totally obsolete.
"We were trying to create some magic, and by doing that, we were also focusing on trying to offer something that's different. The music that's on the record, when it comes out... it's not really what's around right now, predominantly. What's always been exciting for us is trying to offer something new. It's not a contradiction of what's around, it's just a way to open up the variety of what music can offer at a certain time."
Random Access Memories will see the light of day on Tuesday (May 21) courtesy of Columbia Records imprint Daft Life Limited. You can currently stream the album here on iTunes.