It may seem crazy to the mp3 generation, but in the dusty echoes of the past people actually had to go to a shop to pick up the latest release from their favourite band. This ridiculous premise did, however, mean that new albums were events to be celebrated, with people excitedly clutching their new CD in an ever expanding queue to the checkout. Sadly, those days are gone. However, there are a few artists out there that still believe there’s a place for showmanship and fanfare in the build up to their new release – none more so than pioneering flashy-helmet wearing French dance duo, Daft Punk. They’ve been doing a great job creating a buzz for their long awaited fourth album: Random Access Memories, set for release on May 21st.
After the critically acclaimed Homework (1997) and Discovery (2001), their third album, Human After All (2005), was met with mixed reviews. After dropping out of the limelight, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter returned in 2010 with the hauntingly electronic Tron: Legacy soundtrack. Now though, it’s time for a genuine Daft Punk release and they’ve been cleverly ramping up the anticipation for months – simply with the help of a few bars of one of their new funk laden disco tracks.
Things kicked off in early March with a 15 second loop of said track played on Saturday Night Live, the subsequent You Tube clip rapidly spread like viral wildfire amongst DJs and music aficionados everywhere. Soon the album title was released and randomaccessmemories.com unleashed. Since then they’ve been dropping hints with The Collaborator Series, a set of short films featuring behind the scenes interviews with those involved with the album, each offering a few titbits of information about what we can expect. So far we’ve been treated to insight from Giorgio Moroder, Todd Edwards and Nile Rogers. However, the biggest reveal so far occurred recently at the ultra hip, celebrity infused Coachella Festival in California, where they put a face and a name to the track: ‘Get Lucky’ featuring Pharrell Williams. Coachella seemed to perfectly fit the bill for this unveiling, as the album’s sound apparently centres around an American ‘west coast’ vibe, laden with electro-disco tones.
The pinnacle of this well orchestrated event release schedule is a grand unveiling of the entire album. Where is this set to take place? Paris? LA? Ibiza? London? No, no, the obvious answer, of course, is Wee Waa, a tiny farm town in the outback of New South Wales, Australia – apparently because the town has a back drop of six towering radio telescopes. Though the duo aren’t expected to attend the 79th Annual Wee Waa agricultural show, it is thought the 4,000 people with tickets will get a full exclusive play of Random Access Memories three days before release. The ‘event’ of a new album release seems to be alive and well and in the very capable hands of two techno-helmet wearing Frenchmen.