I saw it like all of you did. I reacted like all of you did. Maybe you audibly gasped? Maybe your interest was piqued to the point of a single heart flutter? Maybe you reasonably reacted? Doubtful. Hell, the speculation alone of a new Daft Punk single was enough to set the EDM community alight and interest has certainly not waned since. The song even had a title that was in the succinct, interstellar vernacular of the Daft Punk we know, “Emphazed.” It had the chromatically flexible synth leads of the “Homework” days with the ethereal and melancholy drone that is seemingly ever-present in the “TRON: Legacy” soundtrack. For sure this was a Daft Punk track because it fits their known stylings so well… right? Wait, wait, wait. Daft Punk albums are snowflakes. The French duo never seems to present the same idea twice. Which is why, after a little investigative work by the EDM community, we have come to find that the supposedly leaked track by Daft Punk, “Emphazed,” is actually a track by a producer named KRONO. Even with the uncovering of the true nature of the “Emphazed” track it made the speculation of Daft Punk’s upcoming album become viral.
Even with Daft Punk’s status as two of the faces, or rather, helmets, on EDM’s Mt. Rushmore, they seem to relish living in anonymity. They have both stated, and acted like, they have no interest in being celebrities. They rarely give interviews and even when they do they have been known to face away from the interviewer or put bags over their heads so their faces cannot be seen. They are very selective about who they collaborate with. Yet, even with this open shunning of the prying eyes of the masses, a truly unique quality in the EDM world, Daft Punk still remains deified and they do so by being creatively proven enigmas. We all know their work and what their names are, yet, we know very little about their creative process or how they arrive at the chosen thematic elements for each album. They’ve done everything from soundtracking entire movies (TRON: Legacy) to a track that is nothing but a thirty second homage to American FM radio (WDPK 89.7 FM) to reversing one of their own tracks (Funk Ad) and placing it on the same album as the original cut (Da Funk). Every album they have released has been used by producers, whether consciously or unconsciously, as a template for the next trend/movement in EDM. Combine the straightforward and fuzzy leads found in “Human After All” and put them over the deep, bombastic score to “TRON: Legacy” and you can find the birthing remains of brostep and modern electro house. In short, Daft Punk canonizes electronic music genres.
Even with seemingly endless disciples in today’s world, Daft Punk have rarely encountered immediate understanding and acceptance. All of their albums, dating back to 1997, have been met with lukewarm critical and public acclaim on and around their release date. But, when a proper range of aging of the tracks (say 2-10 years) is combined with the constant mystery behind the duo, the superlatives and praise come flying back to the French phenoms, and deservedly so. Think of “Homework” as EDM’s equivalent of Nirvana’s “Nevermind;” initial critical and public success was lacking until the proper moment came when both critic and fans alike realized the artistic merit that had been present in something they didn’t fully indulge themselves in. Allowing the proper time and perspective between their releases is just as important as the space between the notes of Miles Davis.
So what are we to expect with Daft Punk’s upcoming release this year? Since they require complete creative control and lockdown secrecy, the answer is one of absolute certainty and consistent with all previous Daft Punk efforts: no one knows. Anyone who tells you they know what to expect, and doesn’t have the last name Bangalter or Homem-Christo, is practicing the highest form of pure speculation. To try and break down everything that could possibly come from two of electronic music’s most iconic and innovative artists would be the definition of an exercise in futility. Even though we may not be able to predict the premise and quality of the upcoming effort, we can be sure that, as James Murphy said in “Losing My Edge,” “everybody [will think] it [is] crazy.” And even though the interpretation of the “crazy” is one of personal deliberation and reflection, the “crazy” will certainly impact every EDM lover and producer Around the World.