In similar company with new-school French progressive dance artists such as Motorbass, Air, Cassius and Dimitri from Paris, Parisian duo Daft Punk have quickly risen to acclaim by adapting a love for first-wave acid house and techno to their younger roots in pop, indie rock, and hip-hop. The combined talents of DJs Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, the pair’s first projects together included Darlin’, an indie cover band; their current recording name derives from a review in U.K. music weekly Melody Maker of a compilation tape Darlin’ were featured on, released by krautrock revivalists Stereolab (their lo-fi DIY cover of a Beach Boys song was derided as “daft punk”). Subsequently ditching the almost inevitable creative cul-de-sac of rock for the more appealing rush of the dancefloor, the pair released their debut single, “The New Wave,” in 1993 on the celebrated Soma label. Instantly hailed by the dance music press as the work of a new breed of house innovators, the single was followed by “Da Funk,” the band’s first true hit (the record has sold 30,000 copies worldwide and seen thorough rinsings by everyone from Kris Needs to the Chemical Brothers).
Although the group had only released a trio of singles (”The New Wave” and “Da Funk,” as well as the 1996 limited pressing of “Musique”), in early 1996 Daft Punk were the subject of a minor bidding war. The group eventually signed with Virgin, with their first long-player, Homework, appearing early the following year (a brief preview of the album, “Musique,” was also featured on the Virgin compilation Wipeout 2097 next to tracks from Photek, Future Sound of London, the Chemical Brothers, and Source Direct). As with the earlier singles, the group’s sound is a brazen, dancefloor-oriented blend of progressive house, funk, electro, and techno, with sprinklings of hip-hop-styled breakbeats and excessive, crowd-firing samples, similar to other anthemic dance-fusion acts such as the Chemical Brothers and Monkey Mafia. In addition to his role in Daft Punk, Thomas Bangalter operates the Roulé label and has recorded under his own name (the underground smash “Trax on Da Rocks”) as well as Stardust (the huge club/commercial hit “Music Sounds Better with You”). Meanwhile Guy-Man has created his own label Crydamoure and he has released several eps as Le Knight Club together with Eric Chedeville.
After four long years of anxiously awaiting a follow-up to their brilliant debut, Daft Punk finally issued Discovery in March 2001.
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