It’s Not Hard to Go the Distance

You would think it might be easy to find time to post during the holidays, what with work being more relaxed and getting some time off here and there. But it isn’t. How do you explain to family that you have to step away to post a blog entry in the middle of holiday festivities? There is no valid way to do it, so I don’t. I try to find the time where I can, and I travel with my computer to hopefully have the opportunities from time to time to get my words down before they go away or before the week ends. This week was especially chaotic, with a two day business trip thrown in just to further impede my posting “schedule.” But here it is, another Sunday, and I’m getting the chance to wrap up the week before the next week takes away all of my available time. So let’s discuss some Daft Punk.

Daft Punk was a band I heard when they came out. I was introduced to them by my friend Fred (see earlier post), but I wasn’t too taken with them at the time. Back then, I was more into the industrial and EBM sides of the electronic music spectrum. I was just beginning to get into other areas like goa trance with Juno Reactor or big beat with Prodigy and Crystal Method. I felt that styles like house and drum and bass were too simple for me, so I kind of ignored Daft Punk for the next ten years. The good news is that, even without my meager support, they kept making music. Eventually, after the recommendation of one of Heather’s co-workers and a recommendation by my best friend Josh, I gave them another try. Maybe I wasn’t in the right place or frame of mind the first time, but I was the second time. Ever since, Daft Punk has been a part of my musical catalogue.

Like Pearl Jam before them, part of what makes Daft Punk special is the memories tied to some of their music. They aren’t as numerous, or as important, as the Pearl Jam moments, but they still exist. I’ve already discussed my Adagio for TRON moment. There are other instances of listening to Daft Punk in the car that are almost as memorable. There’s the time I learned that I should not drive while listening to Human After All (Alter Ego Mix), especially in heavy traffic. It makes me far too aggressive of a driver, and I probably would get into an accident. There’s the time that I was driving Route 40 back from a business trip to Pittsburgh and Crescendolls came on. I wasn’t especially happy, but for some reason, I just had to groove out uncontrollably to it. So I did. I felt pretty happy afterward, and listened to it again with the same reaction.

There’s other memories, like the time Heather and I took an anniversary trip to Pittsburgh for the weekend. We ate at a very nice restaurant on Saturday, stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast, tried out Uber for the first time, had breakfast in our room, and went to the Carnegie Science Center the next day before heading back to Columbus. The high point of the Carnegie Science Center was absolutely seeing the working Tesla coil, but the next best thing was the Daft Punk Laser Light Show they had going on. I still think of it every time I hear One More Time.

I remember falling down the YouTube hole after watching the “Daft Hands” and “Daft Bodies” videos for Harder Better Faster. Those led to two more hours of imitations, “daft hands” versions of other songs like Technologic, actual videos from Daft Punk live shows, and then eventually things went off the rails and we just kept clicking links. Don’t judge, you’ve absolutely done this. By the way, if you’ve never actually seen this, here you go:

But it isn’t just memories that keep me listening to Daft Punk. The music is great, of course. I truly enjoy their ability to do so much with so little. They manage to be minimalist and complex all at the same time. There’s not a lot going on in a song like Revolution 909 or Da Funk, but yet there’s somehow a lot going on. And it’s all pretty danceable. What I enjoy most about Daft Punk is that they act as a sort of “gateway drug” to the wider world of electronic music.

I liked to pretend that I knew a lot about electronic music, but the truth is that for most of the Nineties and Aughties I was just working based off of what I liked and calling it whatever somebody else called it. Then, not long after bringing me back to Daft Punk, my friend Josh introduced me to Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music. Want to lose a day? Go there and start clicking around. You’ll learn so much about electronic music, discover styles that you never knew existed but are about to become your new favorites, and basically realize that you’ve been blind to a whole family of music for a long time. At the very least, it can help you update your terminology so you sound like you know what you’re talking about. What I found great about it is the lineage. It’s really interesting to see the evolution of electronic music and not just a list of genre’s and sub-genres. Seriously, give it a go, you’ll be entertained and informed. Supposedly, a major update will be coming to it to include the evolution in the last ten years, so at least stay tuned.

Daft Punk brought a whole world of music to me, and they are an easy way for me to bring others into the world of electronic music. They are just complicated enough to hit the right spots for me, even though I’m not a fan of everything. I do enjoy their more bass heavy, true house inspired music more than their r&b inspired music. I loved the orchestral work they did for the newest TRON movie, and their cameo in it was just perfect. I don’t even care who is behind the masks. For all I know, it could be like a “Dread Pirate Roberts” thing where Daft Punk has been a bunch of thematically similar DJs just passing the mantle around. I’d be okay with that, because it just enforces the idea that the people matter less than the music. So keep the masks on, guys. Just keep making music for me to enjoy at the same time.


Mr. Tooduloo

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