This Weeks Music Video with Adele, Florence + The Machine, Grimes, Savages, Duran Duran & Smashing Pumpkins

Single Review – Daft Punk feat. Julian Casabalncas – Instant Crush

2013 has been one of the peaks of Daft Punks career. A reinvention on their part that really worked wonders and their appearance not being an issue. It was primarily a commercial success based on the music. That is surely only a positive thing. Random Access Memories is a great album on the whole. They wished to produce an album of the like of Sgt Pepper or Dark Side of The Moon and I think they’ve certainly replicated the flow and natural feel from track to track; if not the innovation to the extent of those examples. Though Get Lucky has been massively overplayed; there are other tracks that more intricate and refined and one of those is Instant Crush.  It features another big collaboration with the Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas who I can imagine loving working with Daft Punk as his 2009 solo album Phazes For The Young might indicate. This song features a simple yet effective plucked guitar riff with some basic synth chords but these step up during the chrous and largely takes over from the guitar. The guitar riff is similar to that of Andy Summers on the famous ‘Every Breath You Take’ single by The Police in 1983 and has the same hook providing effect. Julians vocals are also put through the vocoder or whatever vocal manipulating equipment they have at their disposal. The vocal approach of Casablancas is more of a subtle ‘One Way Trigger’ sort of vocal and despite the manipulation of his vocal, you can still detect the character of Julian’s voice too which gives it a dual quality and compliments the music well but not smothering it either. One of the albums highlights.

http://youtu.be/a5uQMwRMHcs

Image from www.billboard.com

Friday at Glastonbury

Friday was a crazy day at Glastonbury with a truly awesome line-up at every stage. The headline act on the Pyramid stage was of course Arctic Monkeys. They may have question marks about their musical and technical originality and innovation  which have not gone away with their new single, but they are a class act live and the band played a seamless set of old and new in which their sound was immaculate and Alex Turner had the crowd in the palm of his hands, especially with the string version of Mardy Bum. The whole showman gag was a bit daft but if you were an Arctic Monkeys fan then this set will have had your eyes glazed over and had you foaming at the mouth. For everyone else, you could appreciate a well oiled machine efficiently churning out hit after hit. Miles Kanes appearance was a bonus for the closing tune: 505. Anyone else was enjoying the Disco legend that was Nile Rodgers who was headlining the West Holts stage who has certainly attracted a fresh generation to his music thanks to his work with Daft Punk. ‘Get Lucky’ was just another song to add to his long list of hits which he played out with Chic. Also on the West Holts stage was Seasick Steve who also put on an excellent performance with his make shift instruments and with contributions from John Paul Jones on the bass. Foals played a decent set before Portishead came and captivated their audience in a very different way to the Arctic Monkeys.Headlining the Park Stage were The Horrors who as always played a dual set filled with moments of energy and consideration. Many flocked there to catch the odd new track off their always massively anticipated new album later this year. One or two were played but they are unamed as of now. They closed as usual with the drawn out frenzy that is ‘Moving Further Away’ and were a success like their fellow headliners.

However Crystal Castles on the John Peel stage were not. Their set was just 40 minutes and started 20 minutes late. Everyone usually revels in Alice Glass’ insane actions but the crowd were left a little cold after she mimiced strangling herself with the mic wire, apparently fainted and didn’t come back for an encore. Bastille gathered a large crowd that went beyond the tent for their set on that very stage ealier on in the day. However the crowds were even bigger for the 21st century mod that is Miles Kane. Wearing a Union Jack harrington jacket, Miles is perhaps one of the only people at Glastonbury who can pull off wearing a flag or wallpaper. Everyone else can forget it. He played a set full of urgency and raw energy as he switched from old to new in effortless fashion. He was joined by Alex Turner for a Last Shadow Puppets number for which Miles returned the favour later on. Alt J attracted a much bigger audience then perhaps everyone was expecting, including themselves as they played out much of their debut album.

Jake Bugg was at ease on the Pyramid stage in the afternoon with two new tunes and a cover of Neil Young’s ‘Hey Hey My My’ Even earlier than that were Haim in theif first appearance at the fesitval while Beady Eye were a little low key in opening the days proceedings. The Vaccines too, gathered a large crowd to showcase their two albums and their new track ‘Melody Calling’. Savages produced a faultless and high octane performance at the William’s Green stage and they smashed through a set that featured hits from their excellent album: Silence Yourself. That experience will be bigger and better today when they take on the John Peel stage. Tame Impala put on a great glam-psychedelic masterclass of which ‘Elephant’ was the centrepiece. Their deep sound would have better showcased in the John Peel tent but it was great nonetheless. Ghosts certainly turned a few heads with their mixture of sounds and face masks. After all that no one seemed to remember acts like Rita Ora who was certainly put in her place in being one of the only plastic pop acts presnet against a fantasic backdrop of a variety of skilled musicians from various genres. Expect the same today!

Images from http://www.nme.com/ / www.newswhip.com / http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories Review

Random Access Memories is the pretty much the fourth studio album if you ignore the Tron Legacy soundtrack, which makes it eight years since their last proper album with Human After All. That album has often been considered to be the poorest of their previous three; so to wait that long for a proper response from the Parisian duo is a little odd but then again, so are Daft Punk. They thrive on odd. A word of caution with this album though. Yes it’s making big waves in the charts and has several critics like those from the NME drooling in a semi – concious state; but many are very much pretenders who probably think Daft Punk are new or something when in fact this is their 20th year give or take. So don’t judge the album on those types of people. Judge it on the music. (famous last words…)

One word with this album. COLLABORATIONS! Lots of em! Two of them of which are the most prominent appear in their single ‘Get Lucky’. This song is a symbol of them largely ditching their samples and getting in live musicians to replace them to replicate the musical era that appeals most to them: the late 70’s and the 1980’s. To do this they enlisted the help of Nile Rodgers, and his simple yet rythmic 70’s dicso guitar riff drives the song in a subtle way which at the same time speaks volumes on a Daft Punk track. The bass mirrors this to really get a beat and continuous ‘groove’ going throughout the song. Pharrell Williams’ higher pitched vocals on the chrous and his lower pitched, drawn out vocal on the verses are both reflective of a 70’s disco tune and compliment the range of sounds from the low bass line, Rodger’s guitar riff inbetween and Pharrell’s vocals at the top of the range when joined by the vocoder manipulated vocals; just comes together in effortless fashion. This is in part due to the slick work from Thomas and Guy in the way of production. It is perhaps even more heavily produced than any of their previous albums due to the scrutiny and re-working that will have been done on the live instruments and vocals to make them sound as clean and as crisp as possible. If it’s done right then a heavily produced album works and it’s the case here too. ‘Instant Crush’ features another big collaboration with the Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas who I can imagine loving working with Daft Punk as his 2009 solo album Phazes For The Young might indicate. This song features a simple yet effective plucked guitar riff with some basic synth chords but these step up during the chrous and largely takes over from the guitar. The guitar riff is similar to that of Andy Summers on the famous ‘Every Breath You Take’ single of 1983 and has the same hook providing effect. Julians vocals are also put through the vocoder or whatever vocal manipulating equipment they have at their disposal. The vocal approach of Casablancas is more of a subtle ‘One Way Trigger’ sort of vocal and despite the manipualtion of his vocal, you can still detect the character of Julians voice too which gives it a dual quality and compliments the music well but not smothering it either.

Panda Bear joins Daft Punk with the song ‘Doin It Right’ which starts off with a heavily vocoded vocal with the repetitive “Everybody will be dancing…” which becomes the rythm section as Panda Bear’s vocals interlock with the manipulated, rythmic vocal brilliantly. ‘Fragments Of Time’ featuring Todd Edwards barely sounds like a Daft Punk tune which is pretty much a direct reflection of the 70’s and 80’s disco and R&B references with their subtle, broken organ and synth sounds joining in on the chorus. The vocals go well with the sort of music being represented but are pretty standard. Perhaps this song will be a little hard to understand for die hard Daft Punk fans but musically it’s pretty sound if vocally a little off. Songs such as ‘Game Of Love’ can at times sound like vocoder overload, but after a few listens it does grow on you slightly and the funk style instumentals sort of match up with that and the synths in a type of unconventional union of old and retro with new and futuristic. But this union is conducted much better on other tracks such as ‘Give Life Back To Music’ which again has another notable contribution for Nile Rodgers. The song itself builds up well on the bridge between verses with effective results. Beyond even starts off with a string orchestra before going into the electro – retro fusion and this is something that has been achieved to great success with this album. The fact that ‘Get Lucky’ should be a good event for people. Eventhough it’s being played to death at the moment, it’s a proper song in how it’s been crafted by musicians, written by musicians, produced by musicans and played by musicians and talented ones at that with bags of experience. The fact this sort of music is topping the charts whether it’s your thing or not should be celebrated. Thomas Bangalter pointed towards the likes of Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd and Sgt Pepper from The Beatles as “the ones that take you on a journey for miles and miles.” They all served as some of the several models for creating an album that provides that journey which they have managed to achieve in a sense you can become engrossed and lost within it. Many say it’s their best album and im not sure. Perhaps it is in how they are more skilled now and have proved successful with this different approach. But it’s not so important right now. People should just enjoy what is more than just a solid album from the French duo.

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories = 8.5/10

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Images from http://en.wikipedia.org / www.last.fm