January 17, 1997 (U.K.)
March 25, 1997 (U.S.)
1993 - 1996
Daft House (Paris, France)
Homework is the debut studio album by French electronic music duo Daft Punk, released on 17 January 1997 with Virgin Records. Homework's success brought worldwide attention to French house music. According to The Village Voice, the album revived house music and departed from the Eurodance formula. The duo produced the tracks without plans to release an album. After working on projects that were intended to be separate singles over five months, they considered the material good enough for an album.
Commercially successful, Homework appeared in 14 national charts, peaking at number 150 on the United States Billboard 200 and at number 37 on the Australian Albums Chart. By February 2001, the album had sold more than two million copies worldwide and received several gold and platinum certifications. Overall Homework received positive critical response. The album features singles that had significant impact in the French house and global dance music scenes. These include the US Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play number-one singles "Da Funk" and "Around the World", the latter of which reached number 61 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1993 Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo presented a demo of electronic music to Stuart Macmillan of Slam at a rave in EuroDisney. The contents of the cassette eventually saw release on the single "The New Wave", which was released on April 11, 1994 on Slam's Soma Quality Recordings label. The record also contained the final mix of the track "The New Wave" entitled "Alive".
"Da Funk" and "Rollin' & Scratchin'" were released as a single under the Soma label in 1995. The tracks were then utilized by The Chemical Brothers in DJ sets at The Heavenly Social in London. During the same year, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons requested that the duo remix their single "Life Is Sweet" and open for The Chemical Brothers' tour in the United Kingdom. The ensuing popularity of Daft Punk's singles led to their signing with Virgin Records in September 1996. Their departure from Soma was noted by Richard Brown of the Glasgow-based label. "We were obviously sad to lose them to Virgin but they had the chance to go big, which they wanted, and it's not very often that a band has that chance after two singles. We're happy for them."
Although Virgin held exclusive distribution rights over Daft Punk’s material, the duo remain the owners of their master recordings through the Daft Trax label. Bangalter expressed that "To be free, we had to be in control. To be in control, we had to finance what we were doing ourselves. The main idea was to be free." Daft Punk discussed their method with Spike Jonze, director of the "Da Funk" music video. He noted that "They were doing everything based on how they wanted to do it. As opposed to, 'oh we got signed to this record company, we gotta use their plan.' They wanted to make sure they never had to do anything that would make them feel bummed on making music." In regards to the duo's creative control and freedom, Bangalter said:
|“||We've got much more control than money. You can't get everything. We live in a society where money is what people want, so they can't get the control. We chose. Control is freedom. People say we're control freaks, but control is controlling your destiny without controlling other people. We're not trying to manipulate other people, just controlling what we do ourselves. Controlling what we do is being free. People should stop thinking that an artist that controls what he does is a bad thing. A lot of artists today are just victims, not having control, and they're not free. And that's pathetic. If you start being dependent on money, then money has to reach a point to fit your expenses.||”|
Daft Punk worked to record other tracks, including "Revolution 909" and "Around the World". The album was mixed and recorded in their own studio, Daft House in Paris, France. It was mastered by Nilesh Patel at the London studio The Exchange.
Virgin re-released "Da Funk" with the B-side "Musique" in 1996, before the debut of Homework. Bangalter later stated that the B-side "was never intended to be on the album, and in fact, 'Da Funk' as a single has sold more units than Homework, so more people own it anyways than they would if it had been on the album. It is basically used to make the single a double-feature."
Daft Punk produced the tracks included in Homework without a plan to release an album. Bangalter stated, "It was supposed to be just a load of singles. But we did so many tracks over a period of five months that we realized that we had a good album." The duo set the order of the tracks to cover the four sides of a two-disc vinyl LP. De Homem-Christo remarked, "There was no intended theme because all the tracks were recorded before we arranged the sequence of the album. The idea was to make the songs better by arranging them the way we did; to make it more even as an album." The name Homework, Bangalter explained, relates to "the fact that we made the record at home, very cheaply, very quickly, and spontaneously, trying to do cool stuff."
"Daftendirekt" is an excerpt of a live performance recorded at the first I Love Techno party in Ghent, Belgium. It served as the introduction to Daft Punk's live shows and was used to begin the album.Janet Jackson sampled "Daftendirekt" on her song "So Much Betta", which was included in her tenth studio album, Discipline, in 2008.Homework's following track, "WDPK 83.7 FM", is a tribute to FM radio in the US. The next song, "Revolution 909" is a reflection on the French government's stance on dance music.
"Revolution 909" is followed by "Da Funk", which carries elements of funk and acid music. According to Andrew Asch of the Boca Raton News, the song's composition "relies on a bouncy funk guitar to communicate its message of dumb fun." Bangalter expressed that "Da Funk"'s theme involved the introduction of a simple, unusual element that becomes acceptable and moving over time. Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine complimented the song as "unrelenting", and Bob Gajarsky of Westnet called it "a beautiful meeting of Chic (circa "Good Times", sans vocals) and the 90s form of electronica." The song appeared on the soundtrack for the 1997 film The Saint and was placed at number 18 on Pitchfork Media's "Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s" list. "Phoenix" combines elements of gospel music and house music. The duo considered "Fresh" to be breezy and light with a comical structure. Ian Mathers of Stylus Magazine criticized the song, stating that it "doesn’t feel like the beach just because of the lapping waves heard in the background."
The single "Around the World" carries influences of Gershon Kingsley's hit "Popcorn". Its music video was directed by the Academy Award-winning French filmmaker Michel Gondry, who compared the track's bassline to that of "Good Times" by Chic. Chris Power of BBC Music named it "one of the decade’s catchiest singles". He stated that it was "a perfect example of Daft Punk’s sound at its most accessible: a post-disco boogie bassline, a minimalist sprinkling of synthetic keyboard melody and a single, naggingly insistent hook." Ian Mathers of Stylus Magazine commented that "there is no way you’d want to have a Homework without 'Around The World'." The track "Teachers" is a tribute to several of Daft Punk's house music influences, including future collaborators Romanthony, DJ Sneak and Todd Edwards. The song "Oh Yeah" features DJ Deelat and DJ Crabbe. "Indo Silver Club" features a sample of "Hot Shot" by Karen Young. Prior to its inclusion on Homework, "Indo Silver Club" was released as a single on the Soma Quality Recordings label in two parts. The single lacked an artist credit in the packaging and was thought to have been created by the nonexistent producers Indo Silver Club. The final track, "Funk Ad", is a reversed clip of "Da Funk".
- ↑James (2003), p. 269.
- ↑ 2.02.12.22.32.42.5Warner, Jennifer. "Interview with Daft Punk". p. 3. DMA. About.com. Retrieved on 30 March 2007.
- ↑Nickson, Chris (June 1997) Daft Punk: Parlez-vous da funk?. CMJ New Music Monthly (46) (CMJ Network) p. 10. ISSN1074-6978. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- ↑ 4.04.1Homework (liner notes). Daft Punk. Virgin Records, a division of EMI Group. 42609. 1997.
- ↑Discipline (Booklet). Janet Jackson. Island Records, a division of [[wikipedia:The Island Def Jam Music Group]|The Island Def Jam Music Group]]. 2008.
- ↑Di Perna, Alan (April 2001). "We Are The Robots", Pulse!. pp. 65–69.
- ↑Warner, Jennifer. "Interview with Daft Punk". p. 2. DMA. About.com. Retrieved on 10 February 2012.
- ↑ 8.08.1Collin, Matthew (August 1997). "Do You Think You Can Hide From Stardom?". Mixmag. Retrieved on 6 March 2007.
- ↑Asch, Andrew (18 December 1997). "Daft Punk smashes charts with simplicity". Boca Raton News. Retrieved on 1 May 2012.
- ↑Daft Punk audio commentary for "Da Funk" music video, The Work of Director Spike Jonze (2003).
- ↑Cinquemani, Sal (2 November 2002). "Daft Punk – Homework".Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 1 May 2012.
- ↑Gajarsky, Bob (28 April 1997). "Daft Punk, Homework". Westnet. Retrieved on 1 May 2012.
- ↑Ryan Dombal (3 September 2009). "Staff Lists: The Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s: 20-01". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on 10 February 2012.
- ↑D.A.F.T.: A Story About Dogs, Androids, Firemen and Tomatoes. Virgin Records. 1999.
- ↑ 15.015.1Mathers, Ian (9 May 2005). "Daft Punk: Homework – Playing God". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved on 1 May 2012.
- ↑Gondry, Michel (2003). The Work of Director Michel Gondry companion book. Palm Pictures. Retrieved on 4 May 2012.
- ↑Power, Chris (5 January 2010). "Review of Daft Punk – Homework". BBC Music. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved on 1 May 2012.
- ↑Gill, Chris (1 May 2001). ROBOPOP. Remix Magazine. Archived from the original on 11 February 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
- ↑ 19.019.1Indo Silver Club (liner notes). Daft Punk. Soma Quality Recordings. SOMA 035.
- ↑Silcott, Mireille (3 April 1997). "Personality punks". Montreal Mirror. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved on 3 August 2011.
4 December 2007 (U.S.)
25 February 2008 (U.K.)
14 June 2007
Bercy (Paris, France).
84:03 (with encore)
Alive 2007 is a live album released by Daft Punk in 2007. It features live songs from their performance at Bercy in Paris, France, on their Alive 2007 tour.
The album won the Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album in 2009. A live version of "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger", containing elements of "Television Rules the Nation / Crescendolls" and "Around the World / Harder Better Faster Stronger", also won a Grammy that year for Best Electronic/Dance Recording.
The physical release in North America was delayed to December 4 due to production issues, but the album became available as a digital download on November 20, 2007.A special edition of the album was released that includes the encore from the Alive 2007 tour on a second disc, which is included on the digital copy as well. It also includes a 50-page book containing photographs from the tour taken by DJ Falcon.
The Alive 2007 set used Ableton Live software on "custom made super-computers" for the show. Daft Punk accessed the hardware remotely with Behringer BCR2000 MIDI controllers and JazzMutant Lemur touchscreen pads within the central pyramid. Minimoog Voyager RME units were also implemented for the live performances. The four Voyager units and two Behringer mixers allowed Daft Punk to "mix, shuffle, trigger loops, filter, distort samples, EQ in and out, transpose or destroy and deconstruct synth lines". The majority of the equipment was stored away during the live sets within offstage towers.
The recording of Alive 2007 was derived from Daft Punk's live performance at their Bercy show on June 14, 2007. Reviews of the set noted how Daft Punk manipulated and reworked their established material. One report spotted vocal elements from the song "Too Long" mixed with newly-generated accompaniment. The overlapped mixtures of "Television Rules the Nation" with "Crescendolls", "Around the World" with "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" and "Superheroes" with "Human After All" were reported to be well received by the audience. The set itself was considered a collection of Daft Punk's most popular recordings. The performances heavily featured tracks from Daft Punk's album Human After All, prompting critics to reconsider what they felt about the album.
The visuals of the 2006 and Alive 2007 tour were set up by XL Video. The company provided eight-core Mac Pro units running Catalyst v4 and Final Cut Pro. Daft Punk approached the company with their visual concept for the shows. "They came to us with a pretty fixed idea of what they wanted", said the head of XL Video, Richard Burford. "They wanted to mix live video with effects. Using the eight-core Mac Pros, we were able to take in eight digital sources and treat them as video streams. Then they could use Catalyst to coordinate the video with lighting effects and add their own effects in on the fly. The final digital video streams ran to LED screens."
The performances for the Alive 2007 tour were an expansion of Daft Punk's 2006 live sets. Noted additions include elements of the tracks "Burnin'" and "Phoenix" as well as an encore. Bangalter explained that the 2006 sets were initially designed for performances within larger festivals, but later refined to accommodate Daft Punk-specific shows. "The goal was to try and bring a complete global experience to the audience". The introduction for the live show featured the five-note sequence used in the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".
The album includes elements of the Busta Rhymes song "Touch It", the original version of which was produced by Swizz Beatz featuring a sample of "Technologic". Also featured are elements of Gabrielle's "Forget About the World", the original version of which was remixed by Daft Punk for her single. The encore of the Alive 2007 set features Bangalter's side projects: Stardust's "Music Sounds Better with You" and Together's self-titled track "Together". Many songs from Human After All: Remixes are utilized, like Robot Rock (Maximum Overdrive Mix) and The Prime Time of Your Life (Para One Remix).
Alive 2007 was generally met with praise upon release. Pitchfork Media regarded the recording as "the Ultimate Daft Punk Mixtape", specifically noting how songs from the album Human After All had been "constantly improved and born anew" for the live set. The sentiment was also shared by Allmusic, stating that "It has the feel of a greatest-hits-live concert, but energized by Daft Punk's talents at weaving songs in and out of each other". The publication ultimately considered Alive 1997 the stronger of their two live albums, however. A review by The Star noted that the release and Daft Punk's concurrent tours cumulatively restored the duo's reputation following the mixed reception of their two earlier studio albums.
Sputnikmusic stated that the Alive 2007 performance was closer to a theatrical production than a traditional concert, and that the album "could just as easily be a studio concoction". Entertainment Weekly, however, felt that the live crowd enhanced the positive mood of the performance. Rolling Stone stated that Alive 2007 "loses some of the essential experience" of attending the live Daft Punk events. The Phoenix also felt that the album package would have benefited from more video content, expressing that a key factor of the live show was its implementation of visual elements. In his first positive review for a Daft Punk album, Robert Christgau believed that a full video representation was avoided because "too much scale, flesh and bodily effluvia would be lost". Thomas Bangalter expressed his reasons for not releasing a DVD by stating "the thousands of clips on the internet are better to us than any DVD that could have been released".
On December 3, 2008, Alive 2007 and its single "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" received Grammy Award nominations for Best Electronic/Dance Album and Best Dance Recording, respectively. Both the album and the single were announced as winners during the 51st Grammy Awards pre-telecast ceremony.
- ↑Daft Punk YouTube Channel. YouTube.com. Retrieved 6 September 2007 .